Why do people share content online?

Posted on: October 31st, 2011

Did this image appear in your Facebook newsfeed on the weekend?  Timothy Straub, a regular guy from Wisconsin, US,  shared this on Facebook and thanks to his small network of friends and family (and his open privacy settings) the photo is making its way around the world.  It has already been shared over 18,400+ times and counting.

Timothy is now getting friend requests from randoms and as a consequence, has posted this message on his wall: “Due to the increased demand for my friendship I am now implementing a new friend accepting policy… Please understand that my viral status has forced me to take these actions.”

Obviously people shared this photo because it’s funny, cute, creative and ironic.  But why else do people share content?

According to research by the New York Times, people share content for the following reasons:

  • To bring valuable and entertaining content to others
  • To define themselves
  • To grow and nourish relationships
  • For self-fulfillment
  • To get the word out about a cause or brand

As content producers for brands and companies, understanding these insights is important.  Using them as a guide or benchmark when producing content could increase the likelyhood of your content being shared.

Below is a great (and credible) infographic from Add This on sharing content.

What’s interesting to note is that for all the sharing buttons, bells and whistles we put on websites and blogs, the old copy and past of a url is still the way most of us share content online.

Posted by Renee Creer

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