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FractlBuzzSumo-Emotional-Sentiment-Most-Shared-Articles-SocNets-Aug2014A recent study from ShareThis found significant differences in the types of content categories most likely to be shared on various social networks. Now, a new study [download page] from Fractl – in collaboration with BuzzSumo – analyzes the million most-shared articles from the first half of 2014 to identify the emotional sentiment of the top articles being shared on major social networks, with some intriguing discrepancies.

The analysis – conducted by applying AlchemyAPI to analyze the sentiment of the articles shared – found that some platforms veered decidedly towards articles with negative sentiments, while others were the destination for articles overwhelmingly positive in tone.

Of the 5 major social networks studied – Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and LinkedIn – Facebook dominated with 81.9% of the total shares generated. Interestingly, though, of the most-shared articles on Facebook, only 36% were deemed to have positive sentiment, as opposed to 47% negative (with the remainder neutral). Reporting from Contently shows that removing articles from BuzzFeed (the most-shared publisher on Facebook), Upworthy and ViralNova resulted in an even more negative sentiment: a majority 57% of the remaining top articles shared on Facebook had a negative sentiment, versus just 30% positive.

Only one of the other social networks tended to have a more negative than positive sentiment: Twitter, the network with the second-largest share (8.6%) of shares (excuse the pun). Of the most-shared articles on Twitter during the analyzed period, 46% had a negative sentiment versus 40% with a positive sentiment.

The emotional sentiment of the most-shared articles on Google+ (4.3% of all shares) tended slightly more to the positive (45%) than negative (38%), although it was Pinterest and LinkedIn that had by far the most positive sentiment. On Pinterest (3% of all shares), 65% of the most-shared articles had a positive emotional sentiment, versus 18% negative, while on LinkedIn (2.3% of all shares), 70% had a positive sentiment versus 18% with a negative sentiment.

In what might be a pure coincidence – the greater the volume of shares on the social network, the greater the tendency for the articles’ sentiment to be negative. And in what may – or may not be – a coincidence, politics content is more actively shared on Facebook and Twitter (with the most negative overall sentiment) and far less so on Pinterest (among the most positive sentiment)!

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