The psychology of online sharing

Posted on December 26, 2015

Photo source: Flickr

Why we share
According to researchers who have tried to identify motivations of social media users, people could share an article or video for a variety of reasons:

1. Fun and entertainment: Nearly half of all users (49%) say that they share things that they found interesting; or that they think their friends will like. They use sharing on social media as a way to connect with others by offering interesting tidbits for their friends and family.

2. Self presentation: For a majority (68%), sharing on social media has become an effective way to tell people about who they are. Sharing only material that is in line with personal views is a (mostly) non-confrontational way to let people know what our interests are, how we think about different issues, and what our opinions are.

3. Developing relationships: Nearly 80% of social media users use these platforms as a way to stay in touch with friends and family. Gone are the days when moving cities or making life changes meant that you lost touch with old friends. For those who want to (and most do want to), social media lets people maintain relationships by sharing material with people we don’t meet that often.

4. Personal satisfaction: When we have an opinion, what can we do with it?. Many (69%) now use social media as a platform to share these opinions – whether they be about politics, social issues, or products used – with others. This often connects us to like-minded people; and interacting with them makes us feel better.

5. Demonstrating support: When tragedies occur, like the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, people can often feel helpless and confused. One of the ways that people respond to these types of events is via social media. Changing your profile picture or posting messages of solidarity is a way for people to express their support for friends and wider, global issues. Sometimes dubbed slacktivism, this type of support however, has its critics.

6. A memory aid: An interesting side effect of sharing something, is that we tend to remember it better than material we read / hear but do not share. It’s likely that this happens because we pay more attention to the material we plan to share; or because the act of sharing creates a more detailed memory.

What’s your sharing personality? Follow the link below to read this article in full.


Source material from Brain Fodder

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