A new study from MIT suggests that having uncoordinated reopening strategies may cause regional problems.

According to the study, different state policies can affect how other people in adjacent states act during the pandemic. Social media can work in the same way and “alter the perception of the effectiveness of local policies.” If one saw a post on Facebook from someone in a state that no longer is calling for social distancing, there is a greater chance they will no longer view their own states social distancing guidelines as essential.

Since we base how we respond to the pandemic off what others around us are doing, the regional differences in reopening strategies become potentially dangerous, as the relaxation of social distancing polices in some states might have a ripple effect that extends to states still adhering to stricter guidelines.

“While we are sheltered in place, we have gone online in record numbers and we are talking to each other," Sinan Aral, one of the study’s authors and director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, told Jim Bruade on WGBH News' Greater Boston Thursday. "Social connections from Massachusetts to California to New York to Florida matter in terms of our behavior,”

Aral said that when states don’t coordinate, other states may have to implement more restrictive policies to account for their more relaxed neighbors. Aral’s research shows that sates with the largest populations like California have the most influence.

“The states with the largest population totals have the most influence because they have people who they are connected to through their citizens in so many places, and so many places are listening to what they are doing over social media,” Aral said.