Social capital indicative of community interaction and support is intrinsically linked to mental health. Increasing online presence is now the norm. Whilst social capital and its impact on social networks has been examined, its underlying connection to emotional response such as mood, has not been investigated. This paper studies this phenomena, revisiting the concept of “online social capital” in social media communities using measurable aspects of social participation and social support. We establish the link between online capital derived from social media and mood, demonstrating results for different cohorts of social capital and social connectivity. We use novel Bayesian nonparametric factor analysis to extract the shared and individual factors in mood transition across groups of users of different levels of connectivity, quantifying patterns and degree of mood transitions. Using more than 1.6 million users from LiveJournal, we show quantitatively that groups with lower social capital have fewer positive moods and more negative moods, than groups with higher social capital. We show similar effects in mood transitions. We establish a framework of how social media can be used as a barometer for mood. The significance lies in the importance of online social capital to mental well-being in overall. In establishing the link between mood and social capital in online communities, this work may suggest the foundation of new systems to monitor online mental well-being.
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