Tuesday, November 19, 2019
Tech & The Web

Sharing on Facebook? Here’s Why People Do It

When it comes to sharing on Facebook, research suggests the motives people have for spreading the word. Does it ring true with you?

Research from Fractl suggests one motive clearly outweighs the others as people decide whether they’ll share something on their Facebook page.

The survey asked 2,000 consumers about what they share and why they share links, articles and videos from external websites as well as why they reshare Facebook posts they see others posting.

That number one reason, according to MarketingProfs.com, is that it is something people believe their friends will find “interesting.”

That might come as a bit of a surprise, since many are constantly told that they need to produce content that is useful. Useful, it turns out, is still on the list, but the survey puts it last, tying with the dreaded “other” category.

Here’s how the numbers play out on this particular piece of data:

  • 48% – “I share things that my friends will find interesting.”
  • 17% – “I share things that inform my friends of the things I care about.”
  • 13% – “I share things that will make my friends feel something.”
  • 11% – “I share things that my friends will find useful.”
  • 11% – “Other”

By “interesting,” researchers say Facebook users are looking for something they think will entertain their friends. That would seem to imply that at least for sharing, people are trying to be all about their audience, not about themselves, especially when you consider that less than a quarter claim to share about issues they care about.

Of course, there’s probably a good deal of crossover: things that we think might be entertaining may well prove a point or at least attempt to make a point the sharer already accepts as important.

There’s also this: the survey found that a combined 40% said it was either “completely true” or “true” that they shared items “that made them look good,” and a combined 62% said it was either “completely true” or “true” that they avoided sharing items they felt made them look bad.

That seems like basic human nature to me, even if it’s a surprise to see it spelled out so clearly.

There are additional facts presented at the site, including how men and women differ in what they share and why.

Go back to your Facebook profile and look at the last half dozen or so things you’ve shared: which of the motives above tend to apply most often?

Are you more likely to share to entertain, inform, evoke a response or be useful?

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 28 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.