Emotions and virality: Social transmission of political messages on Twitter
Sprache des Titels:
Drawing on previous literature that valence and arousal constitute the fundamental properties of emotions and that emotional content is a determinant of social transmission, this study examines the role of valence and arousal in the social transmission of politicians' messages on Twitter. For over 3,000 tweets from five Austrian party leaders, the discrete emotion that the message intended to elicit in its recipients was captured by human coders and then classified on its valence (positive or negative) and arousal (low or high). We examined the effects of valence and arousal on the retweet probability of messages. Results indicate that tweets eliciting a negative (vs. positive) valence decreased retweet probability, whereas tweets eliciting a high (vs. low) arousal increased retweet probability. The present research replicates previous findings that arousal constitutes a determinant of social transmission but extends this mechanism to the realm of political communication on Twitter. Moreover, in contrast to the frequently mentioned negativity bias, positive emotions increased the likelihood of a message being shared in this study.