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Happiness is who your friends are – even in cyberspace

Happiness is a contagious thing. And not just in the “meet space” but in cyberspace as well. Happy people attract happy people and tend to form clusters – through social networks. This is according to a study conducted by researchers at Harvard, and reviewed by Nature News.

In the study, they found that people with smiling faces on social networks like Facebook are linking more to each other than to not-so-happy faces. In the same way, people who use smileys often tend to attract people of similar temperament. This connection seems to extend beyond just direct contact but also to your contacts’ contacts, to your friends’ friends. However, the emotional link gets weaker with distance and disappears beyond the 3rd degree of separation.

Conversely, depressive people will also seek depressive company. The recent surge in suicide pacts by young people over Internet networks has been alarming. Truly the psychological impact of social networking needs to be studied more.

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