Jordanian experts and Twitter users agreed on Thursday with the conclusion of a recently-released report that users of the social media site are becoming less happy over time.
The study, which was released last week by a group of scientists at University of Vermont, analysed the word content of more than 4 billion tweets posted by 63 million Twitter users worldwide between September 2008 and mid-September 2011, and found a gradual downward trend in happiness among Twitter users.
Hussein Khuzai, associate professor of sociology at Balqa Applied University, said Twitter users are likely to become depressed with the passage of time as they are inundated with bad news.
"The more time a person spends on Twitter, the more he or she is subject to news and comments that might not be pleasant," he told The Jordan Times on Thursday.
"Users of Twitter are accustomed to reading the news more than others. They are more subject to reading about bombings, disasters, and other incidents before others as tweets are fast and nowadays breaking news around the world is on Twitter before being published on other sites," Khuzai said.
"Spending lots of time on social networking sites in general is negative and affects peoples' mood negatively," he concluded.
Jordanian Twitter users agreed that using the site increases their exposure to upsetting news, but said they still consider social media tools like Twitter useful and fun.
"Twitter is good. I stay in touch with friends and read their news. But honestly, most of the news is negative and most of the comments people post are sad and affect my mood," said Hadeel Omar, a computer science student at Balqa Applied University.
Mais Hijzai, an accountant, expressed similar sentiments.
"I have Facebook and Twitter accounts. Sometimes, it bothers me to see violent pictures and read negative news on the social sites," she said Thursday.
"It is true that some comments and news on Twitter and Facebook are depressing, but that does not necessarily make me unhappy. Maybe a little disappointed, but I like using the two sites," she said.
According to a social media analyst, who preferred anonymity, there were about 50,000 Twitter subscribers in Jordan by end of May of this year.
Of the total, about 15,000 are considered active users who tweet at least three times a week.
The study found distinct drops in happiness during the bailout of the US financial system in 2008 and when the H1N1 flu pandemic hit in 2009. That same year, the death of singer Michael Jackson caused the largest single-day drop in happiness, while Osama Ben Laden's death in 2011 resulted in the study's lowest happiness day, according to the study, posted on the university's website.
The study indicated that the happiest day of the week is Saturday, closely followed by Friday and Sunday, while the least happy day is Tuesday.