Want Reaction on the Web? Start Some Trouble

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Want more comments on Facebook? More ‘likes’ on your blog? More followers on Twitter? Then you need to get ‘flaming’.

But what exactly is ‘Flaming’? According to Urban Dictionary, it involves posting emotive, negative messages to provoke an angry or enraged response on social networking sites. Slovenian and British researchers say it will result in your posts receiving a much higher response rate.

(Take a look inside Facebook headquarters.)

The New Scientist reports that the research used “sentiment analysis” to identify emotional content on posts left on the BBC’s online forums and with Digg.com. By running algorithms that looked for emoticons, emotional keywords and misspellings, the researchers calculated happiness scores for the posts and found that those with a lower score tended to participate in longer conversations. So if you are the kind of social networker who wants to generate more interest and followers, you’re better off writing negative comments than saying ‘I love this!’

It is typical of human nature to create social groups out of negative feelings, for example often hash tags like #whyrelationshipsdontlast are more successful in trending on Twitter than #ilovebieber.

(See some Royals who probably would have provoked some FlameBait had they been on Facebook.)

At least we’re pretty sure that’s the reason #ilovebieber isn’t doing so well.