Emotion homophily in social network site messages

  • Mike Thelwall University of Wolverhampton
Keywords: social network site, emotion


Social network sites (SNS) like MySpace seem to play a role in friendships and wider relationships for many people. Emotion expression can be important in relationship maintenance but little is known about the role of emotion in SNSs, other than positive comments being widespread in MySpace. But is emotion typically reciprocated, and do Friends express and/or receive similar levels of emotion expression to each other? Based upon an analysis of over two million MySpace public comments associated with 2,990 pairs of UK and US Friends using a sentiment detection program, statistically significant evidence was found for a weak correlation between the strength of positive emotion exchanged between Friends and received by Friends. This is consistent with two separate hypotheses: members tend to Friend others with similar levels of public emotion expression, or the expression of emotion in MySpace is contagious. The results may help to identify non-optimal behaviour and at-risk individuals in SNSs.

Author Biography

Mike Thelwall, University of Wolverhampton
Mike Thelwall is Professor of Information Science and leader of the Statistical Cybermetrics Research Group at the University of Wolverhampton, UK. He is also visiting fellow of the Amsterdam Virtual Knowledge Studio, a Docent at Åbo Akademi University Department of Information Studies, and a research associate at the Oxford Internet Institute. He has developed tools for downloading and analysing web sites, blogs and social networking sites, including the research web crawler SocSciBot and software for statistical and topological analyses of site structures (through links) and site content (through text). He has published 152 refereed journal articles, seven book chapters, and two books including Introduction to Webometrics, is an associate editor of the Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology and sits on eight other editorial boards.
How to Cite
Thelwall, M. (2010). Emotion homophily in social network site messages. First Monday, 15(4). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v15i4.2897