A while back a good friend and I were discussing "Why do we share on Social Media?" I could not answer this question. I felt there was more to it than "showing off" or "search for gratification and praise". Honestly I have been trying to write this blog for a long time, eventually I gave up and came up with the below.
I asked my question on Quora.com and I want to share the answers I got:
One answer to this complex question is Dopamine, the reward molecule so to speak, driven by response. Many don’t understand how this is triggered, yet one person puts up a photo or a note, and 1 person likes it. Expectation met, good feelings, and people repeat this.
Social media involves so much more than dopamine, though Facebook’s algorithm tries to extend this effect by showing you what you like and favor. In a way we share because Facebook knows what we like (and others), and begins connecting us to these other items of interest.
While many talk about why others share in a negative sense on social media - narcissism, celebrity, needing attention, etc. - a New York Time study found these reasons - few other resources at the link below.
Reyna Hoerdeman, BS in Science for Marketing from DePaul University in '10
This answer is simple, yet complex at the same time. We’re human , therefore we need and crave attention, validation, love, acceptance, and the list goes on. Some people more than others, which comes down to how much, often, or in what fashion people participate and utilize social media platforms. We like certain platforms more than others because of our communication style, so we inundate those platforms because they are extensions of us and what comes ‘natural’ based on the way we feel about the specific platform.
There are many actual reasons why people share things on social media, yet I feel like you’re looking for a more in depth answer as to what is really behind the actual sharing and what our human urges are such as; why did that woman just share a photo of her newborn baby? Perhaps, she’s proud to have a healthy child, or she wants her relatives to see how cute the baby is, or to show off the outfit someone purchased for the child. (These explanations can continue on for days).
Truth is, we all know why we share things on social media we just have to dig deep and ask ourselves the ‘why’ question ultimately.
From a business point of view - will discuss business and social media in a different blog:
From a business perspective, social media sharing is a great way to show your competitors and prospective clients where your expertise are.
Sharing articles on marketing, for example, shows that you are knowledgeable and invested in that subject, so if a potential customer clicks onto your profile, they’ll think ‘wow, these guys know everything when it comes to marketing, I’ll take my business to these!’.
Also, it shows that you are active and up to date with the trends going on around you, which is a good quality in any business.
As for me, I am still searching for a proper structured answer to why I share on Social Media.
I feel though that I share because I am loud when it comes to self-expressing and sharing positivity and love. Wether I know people will accept or reject what I have to say, I will still express it as well as I can while trying my best not to offend anyone.
I like inviting my friends to experience the same things as me. Wether it's a good article, something that triggers me emotionally (good or bad), announcing that my son did or said something funny. Yes this does mean that I am proud of him (and I k̶n̶o̶w̶ hope that 99% of people who are my friends do hold good intentions and will also be proud).
I like sharing the daily humorous things that surround my life because I know it will make others giggle. We are so often surrounded by negative news online and offline. There are too many negative triggers all around us, that is why I like knowing I had a little doing in spreading some sort of positivity and I maybe was able to put a small smile on someone's face or maybe even learn something new.
I also love going through my feed/timeline and seeing all the stuff I shared, experienced and read. It feels like a little patch of magic which I put together. If I am doing this for anyone, it would probably be myself. I enjoy these pieces of online memories.
At the end of the day, I can not find it in myself to associate the purpose of my sharing online with showing off or seeking validation via LIKES..
Those who know me well know this is far from who I am.
However, is it possible that we could have a void inside that needs to be filled by "likes"?