“A Good Bell is Heard from Far, a Bad One Still Further”: A Socio-demography of Disclosing Negative Emotions in Social Media

Harri Jalonen


A survey study was conducted to explore whether certain demographic variables such as age, gender and education, and differences in individuals’ social media activity, explain differences in disclosing negative emotions in social media. The study found a relationship between age and the tendency to express and share negative emotions. The analysis shows that older users were more moderate in disclosing negative emotions than their younger counterparts. Instead, gender and education were not statistically significant factors in explaining social media behaviour. The study also shows that the more active the user is in social media, the more probably he or she also discloses negative emotions. The study underscores the importance of managing of negative social media content, and identifies several avenues for further studies.



social media, negative emotion

Full Text:



Ahluwalia, R., Burnkrant, R. E., & Unnava, H. R. (2000). Consumer response to negative publicity: The moderating role of commitment. Journal of Marketing Research, 37, 203-214.

Bae, Y. & Lee, H. (2012). Sentiment analysis of Twitter audiences: Measuring the positive or negative influence of popular Twitterers. Journal of the American Society for Information Science Technology, 63(12), 2521-2535.

Bagozzi, R. P. (1992). The self-regulation of attitudes, intentions, and behaviour. Social Psychology Quarterly, 55(2), 178-204.

Bar-Tal, D., Halperin, E., & De Rivera, J. (2007). Collective emotions in conflict situations: Societal implications. Journal of Social Issues, 63(2), 441-460.

Bernoff, J. & Li, S. (2008). Harnessing the power of the oh-so-social web. MITSloan Management Review, 49(3), 36-42.

Berthon, P. R., Pitt, L. F., Plangger, K. & Shapiro, D. (2012). Marketing meets Web 2.0, social media, and creative consumers: Implications for international marketing strategy. Business Horizons, 55(3), 261–271.

Bollen, J., Gonçalves, B., Ruan, G. & Mao, H. (2011). Happiness is assortative in online social networks. Artificial Life, 17(3), 237–251.

Brehm, J. W. (1999). The intensity of emotion. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 3(1), 2–22.

Cacioppo, J. T. & Gardner, W. L. (1999). Emotion. Annual Review of Psychology, 50, 191–214.

Caplan, S. (2010). Theory and measurement of generalized problematic Internet use: A two-step approach. Computers in Human Behavior, 26(5), 1089–1097.

Chmiel, A., Sienkiewicz, J., Thelwall, M., Paltoglou, G., Buckley, K., Kappas, A. & Hołyst, J. A. (2011). Collective Emotions Online and Their Influence on Community Life. PLoS ONE, 6(7), 1–8.

Choudhury, M. D., Counts, S. & Gamon, M. (2012). Not all moods are equal! Exploring human emotional states in social media. International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media, 66–73.

Chu, S-C. & Choi, S. M. (2014). Electronic word-of-mouth in social networking sites: A cross-cultural study of the United States and China. Journal of Global Marketing, 24, 263–281.

comScore. (2013) Europe Digital Future in Focus. Retrieved from http://www.ris.org/uploadi/editor/13646247392013_europe_digital_future_in_focus.pdf

comScore. (2014) U.S. Digital Future in Focus 2014. Retrieved from http://www.tekpro.cl/archivos/US-Digital-Future-In-Focus-2014-FINAL.pdf

Coviello, L., Sohn, Y., Kramer, A. D., Marlow, C., Franceschetti, M., Christakis, N. A. & Fowler, J. H. (2014). Detecting emotional contagion in massive social networks. PloS ONE, 9(3), 1–6.

Dang-Xuan, L. & Stieglitz, S. (2013). Emotions and information diffusion in social media — Sentiment of microblogs and sharing behavior. Journal of Information Systems, 29(4), 217–247.

Derks, D., Bos, A. E.R. & Grumbkow, J. von. (2007). Emoticons and social interaction on the Internet: the importance of social context. Computers in Human Behavior, 23(1), 842-849.

Feinstein, B. A., Bhatia, V., Hershenberg, R., & Davila, J. (2012). Another venue for problematic interpersonal behavior: The effects of depressive and anxious symptoms on social networking experiences. Journal of Social & Clinical Psychology, 31(4), 356–382.

Ferrara, E. & Yang, Z. (2015). Measuring emotional contagion in social media. PloS ONE, 10(11), 1–9.Fr

Flynn, L. R., Goldsmith, R. E. & Eastman, J. K. (1994). The king and summers opinion leadership scale: Revision and refinement. Journal of Business Research, 31, 55–64.

Fullwood, C., Sheehan, N. & Nicholls, W. (2009). Blog function revisited: A content analysis of MySpace blogs. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 12(6), 685-689.

Graham, S. M., Huang, J. Y., Clark, M. S. & Helgeson, V. S. (2008). The positives of negative emotions: Willingness to express negative emotions promotes relationships. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 34(3), 394-406.

Gross, J. J., Richards, J. M. & John, O. P. (2006). Emotion regulation in everyday life. In D. K. Snyder, J. Simpson & J. N. Hughes (Eds.), Emotion Regulation in Couples and Families: Pathways to Dysfunction and Health, 13-35, Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Hadert, A. & Rodham, K. (2008). The invisible reality of arthritis: A qualitative analysis of an online message board. Musculoskeletal Care, 6(3), 181-196.

Hemsley, J. & Mason, R. M. (2013). Knowledge and knowledge management in the social media age. Journal of Organizational Computing and Electronic Commerce, 23(1-2), 138–167.

Hennig-Thurau, T., Gwinner, K. P., Walsh, G. & Gremler, D. D. (2004). Electronic word-of-mouth via consumer-opinion platforms: What motivates consumers to articulate themselves on the Internet? Journal of Interactive Marketing, 18(1), 38–52.

Hillis, K., Paasonen, S. & Petit, M. (2015). Networked Affect. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Hutter, K., Hautz, J., Dennhardt, S. & Füller, J. (2013). The impact of user interactions in social media on brand awareness and purchase intention: the case of MINI on Facebook. The Journal of Product and Brand Management, 22(5), 342–351.

Jansen, B. J., Zhang, M., Sobel, K., & Chowdury, A. (2009). Twitter power: Tweets as electronic word of mouth. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 60(11), 2169–2188.

Jones, S. A., Aiken, K. D. & Boush, D. M. (2009). Integrating experience, advertising, and electronic word of mouth. Journal of Internet Commerce, 8, 246–267.

Jouhki, J., Lauk, E., Penttinen, M., Sormanen, N. & Uskali, T. (2016). Facebook’s emotional contagion experiment as a challenge to research ethics. Media and Communication Research, 4(4), 75–85.

Koh, N. S., Hu, N. & Clemons, E. K. (2010). Do online reviews reflect a product´s true perceived quality? An investigation of online movie reviews across cultures. Electronic Commerce Research and Applications, 9, 374–385.

Kramer, A. D. I., Guillory, J. E., & Hancock, J. T. (2014). Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks. Proceedings of the National Academy of the United States of America, 111(4), 8788–8790.

Laghi, F., Schneider, B. H., Vitoroulis, I., Coplan, R. J., Baiocco, R., Amichai-Hamburger, Y., Hudek, N., Koszycki, D., Miller, S. & Flament, M. (2013). Knowing when not to use the Internet: Shyness and adolescents’ on-line and off-line interactions with friends. Computers in Human Behavior, 29(1), 51–57.

Lapidot-Lefler, N. & Barak, A. (2012). Effects of anonymity, invisibility, and lack of eye-contact on toxic online disinhibition. Computers in Human Behavior, 28(2), 434–443.

Laros, F. J. M. & Steenkamp, J-B. E. M. (2005). Emotions in consumer behavior: a hierarchical approach. Journal of Business Research, 58, 1437–1445.

Lauk, E. & Sormanen, N. (2016). Issues of ethics and methods in studying social media. Media and Communication, 4(4), 63–65.

Lee, S., & Cude, B. J. (2012). Consumer complaint cannel choice in online and off-line purchases. International Journal of Consumer Studies, 36, 90–96.

Lee, D., Kim, H., & Kim, J. K. (2012). The role of self-construal in consumers’ electronic word of mouth (eWOM) in social networking sites: A social cognitive approach. Computers in Human Behavior, 28(3), 1054–1062.

Leung, L. (2013). Generational differences in content generation in social media: The roles of the gratifications sought and of narcissism. Computers in Human Behavior, 29(3), 997–1006.

Li, C. & Bernoff, J. (2011). Groundswell – winning in a world of transformed by social technologies. Harvard: Harvard Business Review Press.

Lin, H., Tov, W. & Qiu, L. (2014). Emotional disclosure on social networking sites: The role of network structure and psychological needs. Computers in Human Behavior, 41, 342–350.

Litvin, S. W., Goldsmith, R. E. & Pana, B. (2008). Electronic word-of-mouth in hospitality and tourism management. Tourism Management, 29, 458–468.

Martin, R. C., Coyier, K. R., van Sistine, L. M. & Schroeder, K. L. (2013). Anger on the Internet: The perceived value of rant-sites. CyberPsychology, Behavior & Social Networking, 16(2), 119–122.

Martinez, L. F. & Zeelenberg, M. (2015). Disappointment makes you more trusting. Harvard Business Review, 93(10), 36-37.

Nitzburg, G. C. & Farber, B. A. (2013). Putting up emotional (Facebook) walls? Attachment status and emerging adults' experiences of social networking sites. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 69(11), 1183– 1190.

Noble, C. H., Noble., S. M. & Adjei, M. T. (2012). Let them talk! Managing primary and extended online brand communities for success. Business Horizons, 55, 475–483.

Östman, S. & Turtiainen, R. (2016). From research ethics to researching ethics in an online specific context. Media and Communication, 4(4), 66–74.

Papacharissi, Z. (2011). A Networked Self: Identity, Community, and Culture on Social Network. New York, NY: Routledge.

Papacharissi, Z. (2015). Affective Publics: Sentiment, Technology, and Politics. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Papacharissi, Z. (2016). Affective publics and structures of storytelling: sentiment, events and mediality. Information, Communication and Society, 19(3), 307-324.

Parra-López, F., Bulchand-Gidumal, J., Gutiérrez-Tano, D. & Díaz-Armas, R. (2011). Intentions to use social media in organizing and taking vacation trips. Computers in Human Behavior, 27(2), 640–654.

Pfeil, U., Arjan, R. & Zaphiris, P. (2009). Age differences in online social networking – A study of user profiles and the social capital divide among teenagers and older users in MySpace. Computers in Human Behavior, 25(3), 643–654.

Przybylski, A. K., Murayama, K., DeHaan, C. R. & Gladwell, V. (2013). Motivational, emotional, and behavioral correlates of fear of missing out. Computers in Human Behavior, 29(4), 1841–1848.

Rapp, A., Beitelspacher, L. S., Grewal, D. & Hughes, D. E. (2013). Understanding social media effects across seller, retailer, and consumer interactions. Academy of Marketing Science Journal, 41(5), 547–566.

Ratto, M. & Boler, M. (2014). DIY Citizenship: Critical Making and Social Media. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Robertson, S. P., Douglas, S., Maruyama, M. & Semaan, B. (2013). Political discourse on social networking sites: Sentiment, in-group/out-group orientation and rationality. Information Polity: The International Journal of Government & Democracy in the Information Age, 18(2), 107–126.

Russell, J. A. (1980). A circumplex model of affect. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 39(6), 1161-1178.

Sheldon, K. M., Abd, N., & Hinsch, C. (2011). A two-process view of Facebook use and relatedness needs-satisfaction: Disconnection drives use, and connection rewards it. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 100(4), 766–775.

Shen, A.X.L., Lee, M. K. O., Cheung, C. M. G. & Chen, H. (2010). Gender differences in intentional social action: we-intention to engage in social network-facilitated team collaboration. Journal of Information Technology, 25(2), 152–169.

Schweitzer, F. & Garcia, D. (2010). An agent-based model of collective emotions in online communities. European Physical Journal B -- Condensed Matter, 77(4), 533–545.

Sobkowicz, P. & Sobkowicz, A. (2012). Properties of social network in an internet political discussion forum, Advances in Complex Systems, 15(6).

Sumiala, J., Tikka, M., Huhtamäki, J. & Valaskivi, K. (2016). #JeSuisCharlie: Towards a multi-method study on hybrid media events. Media and Communication, 4(4), 97–108.

Thogersen, J., Juhl, J. J., & Poulsen, C. S. (2009). Complaining: A function of attitude, personality, and situation. Psychology & Marketing, 26(8), 760-777.

Tripp, T.M. & Grégoire, Y. (2011). When Unhappy Customers Strike Back on the Internet. MIT Sloan Management Review, 52(3), 37–44.

Verhagen, T., Nauta, A. & Feldberg, F. (2013). Negative online word-of-mouth: Behavioral indicator or emotional release? Computers in Human Behavior, 29(4),1430–1440.

Yun, G. W. & Park, S.-Y. (2011). Selective posting: Willingness to post a message online. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 16, 201–277.

Watts, D. & Dodds, P. (2007). Influentials, networks, and public opinion formation. Journal of Consumer Research, 34(4), 441–458.

Zaugg, A. & Jäggi, N. (2006). The impact of customer loyalty on complaining behaviour. In P. Isaís, M. B. Nunes, & I. J. Martínes, (Eds.), IADIS International Conference WWW/Internet, 119–123, Murcia, Spain.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Based at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas, USA, The Journal of Social Media in Society is sponsored by the Colleges of Liberal and Fine Arts, Education, Business Administration, and Graduate Studies.