Social Sharing of Emotion (SSE) occurs when one person shares an emotional experience with another and is considered potentially beneficial. Though social sharing has been shown prevalent in interpersonal communication, research on its occurrence and communication structure in online social networks is lacking. Based on a content analysis of blog posts (n = 540) in a blog social network site (Live Journal), we assess the occurrence of social sharing in blog posts, characterize different types of online SSE, and present a theoretical model of online SSE. A large proportion of initiation expressions were found to conform to full SSE, with negative emotion posts outnumbering bivalent and positive posts. Full emotional SSE posts were found to prevail, compared to partial feelings or situation posts. Furthermore, affective feedback predominated to cognitive and provided emotional support, empathy and admiration. The study found evidence that the process of social sharing occurs in Live Journal, replicating some features of face to face SSE. Instead of a superficial view of online social sharing, our results support a prosocial and beneficial character to online SSE.
Rodriguez Hidalgo, C. T., Tan, E. S., & Verlegh, P. W. J. (2015). The social sharing of emotion (SSE) in online social networks: a case study in Live Journal. Computers in Human Behavior, 52(Nov), 364-372. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2015.05.009