Exciting and Useful Content Generates more Buzz on the Internet


Wilian Feitosa e Delane Botelho



Research in focus: The influence of emotional excitement and content usefulness on information sharing among online consumers. 

Positive images and text receive more ‘likes’ but are shared less often, while negative content generates more comments and may go viral.

Objective: To analyze how useful and emotionally exciting content influences the level of sharing and commenting among online consumers.


• Three studies were conducted to analyze the reactions of Facebook users to different stimuli. The first used two images from a personal profile: a photo of an intense and angry expression and another of a smiling and relaxed expression. The second compared two sports blogs, one maintained by Milton Neves (who forecasts the results of games and provides analyses that are, at times, funny) and one from Juca Kfouri (who mixes the same content with political analyses). The third used two sponsored links created for the study, one that was not very exciting (advertising for a lingerie store, without any promotion) and another that was very exciting (an announcement regarding a dog that had disappeared from its home).

• Content analysis was used to analyze the nature of the text and images. The incidence of sharing, comments and ‘likes’ were examined.


• In Study 1, the image that conveyed positive emotions had more ‘likes’ and the one that conveyed negative emotions received more comments (reactions of concern, irony or good humor).

• In Study 2, the posts by Milton Neves received more comments but were shared less often, while those by Juca Kfouri were shared more but received fewer comments. Posts classified as useful were twice as likely to be shared, while posts that were considered provocative were commented upon five times more often (in an emotional and aggressive way).

• In Study 3, the link about the lost dog generated nine times more response than that for the lingerie store, measured as comments and shares, and the page generated ten times more fans within a ten-day period.

• The content that had the greatest effect was considered more useful (as in Study 2) or could improve the image of the person who wrote it (showing concern for a friend, as in Study 1, or showing compassion, as in Study 3).

What's new

• Content that has a great emotional impact, is more exciting, or is considered more useful results in more sharing.

• Content with negative emotions generates more comments, indicating that bad news about a company or brand may be more likely to go viral than good news. This means that companies should pay more attention to monitoring complaints.

• Content that generates positive emotions tends to lead to extroversion (people want to share in the good moments of others) but leads to less sharing.

Contact the author Delane Botelho

Learn more about the research conducted by Delane Botelho