Meg Thornley Social Media and Project Manager Why Negative Is Shared More Than Positive, And How You Can Capitalise. Well, 2016 was a hell of a year. It may feel like the bad news has been shared with you from all angles, with the sad deaths of copious amounts of celebrities, Brexit encouraging a large amount of distrust in Britain’s economy, and the Presidential election producing the most hated POTUS of all time, it feels like the whole world’s going down in flames. What perhaps makes it worse is that this news isn’t just hitting you when you turn on the TV like it would have done several years ago, instead all your facebook friends are sharing how angry they are about election results, and twitter had several trending hashtags on the matter of Brexit. Every angle you turn to, the bad news hits you. But surely, the whole world can’t be falling apart for an entire year? Why are you only hearing about the bad stuff?! Sure enough, there’s an actual theory behind this. It’s called the negativity bias, and basically… “something very positive will generally have less of an impact on a person’s behaviour and cognition than something equally emotional but negative.” (But check out the Wikipedia Article, it’s interesting.) Basically, people are more likely to share something negative than something positive, as it influences them more. It gets stuck in their head and they become riled up and want to share their anger or anxiety with those around them, so they can see the truth and also be angry or anxious. Social can be used to encourage rallies and protests against the bad things happening, and information about those news stories tends to go hand in hand with trying to encourage people to stop them. Positivity in news stories doesn’t tend to provoke an response to ‘share’ with those you know as no actions need to be taken. The headline ‘Fuzzy Baby Duck Given Special Pyjamas For Christmas’ doesn’t illicit an innate need to tell everyone that the way the world works needs to be changed and that needs to happen fast (In fact, more fuzzy baby ducks should be given Christmas pyjamas). However, this doesn’t just happen with social. The news is also more likely to report bad stories. This is speculated as being because WE as the viewer have actually encouraged them without realising. So, how can you capitalise on this to improve your social media presence? It’s pretty obvious, really. Although, your blog posts don’t need to be along the lines of ‘Why Automation is making the world an awful place”. That may be a little bit over the top for Social Media blogging… Instead, why not try drawing on the idea of making your content shareable by invoking emotions such as excitement, and yes, anger. Instead of “How To Achieve Your Goals”, why not try “How To Stop Making Excuses and Get Where You Want To Be”? Instead of “How To Improve Your Blog Posts” why not “What You’re Doing Wrong In Your Blog Posts- and How To Fix It”? The hint of negativity gets people interested and makes them want to share to spread the word, but the overall positivity means that your content is still providing value to the reader, and not just making them feel like they suck. Any strong emotion gets people interested in your content and more likely to share, so don’t worry if you can’t become all doom and gloom about the world! …We will always need people to write about fuzzy ducks in pyjamas.