Why do people share?
Have you ever thought about why you share something?
The New York Times with Latitude Research conducted an extensive study of why people share in social media called The Psychology of Sharing.
They concluded that “sharing is all about relationships.”
According to the study, people share within their socialsphere to:
- To bring valuable and entertaining content to others
- To define ourselves to others
- To grow and nurture our relationships
- To get the word out about causes and brands
I find it fascinating that sharing is ultimately about ourselves. Hmmm…
This study concluded that there are six sharing personas:
- Altruists — Helpful, reliable and connected. Use email to share.
- Careerists — Network, intelligent and valuable. Use LinkedIn to share.
- Hipsters — Popular, creative and cutting edge. Less likely to use email.
- Boomerangs — Validation, reaction, empowered. Use Facebook and Twitter.
- Connectors — Relaxed, creative, thoughtful. Use email and Facebook.
- Selectives — Resourceful, careful and informative. Use email.
Do you see yourself here? Which persona fits your sharing style?
This study concluded that email is still the #1 communication method. In my recent post Email is the Devil, I talk about how much I do not enjoy email. Part of the dilemma, I think, is how people like receiving their communication. I enjoy Twitter much more than email. I do not share from email frequently, just the occasional article when I feel it is exciting and most likely work-related.
Individuals have different styles of sharing as well. I prefer to build a network of friends that I share with and they share my content as well. I shared my thoughts in more detail in my post Sharing is Caring.
Others choose to ask people to share their content directly which can be OK if you have that type of deal with them. Some send direct messages via Twitter or Facebook asking you to share their content. To me, this can be overstepping the social boundaries. And just because someone asks you to share doesn't mean you have to do it.
I share a lot of content each day, and these are all things that I hope bring value to my followers, whether it is to bring a smile to their face or to help them learn something.