Sharing is Caring – Or is It?

Digging into the psychology of online sharing, we can learn more about why we share the things that we do


Looking back into my recent shares on my social media sites has me wondering why I feel inclined to post some things over others. In the article, The Psychology of How and Why we Share, Jesse Bouman delves into the personas of online sharing.

Among the last things that I’ve shared include live tweets of the Puppy Bowl (honestly, if you don’t watch this you are missing out), pictures of my pets on Instagram and Snapchat, and articles about my favorite musicals and television shows on Facebook. But according to Bouman, there could be some method to my madness.

While I’m not exactly sure why I felt inclined to live tweet the Puppy Bowl, maybe it could be boiled down to product-involvement. I was just having so much fun watching these puppies “play” football that I had to share my experience and get others to watch this amazing television content with me.

Self-involvement could also be a factor to why I post articles with news of the revamping of the TV show, Gilmore Girls (how could you not be excited about this?) and news of my favorite musical, Hamilton performing on the Grammy Awards. I guess it makes me feel like I was the first one to know and I have to spread this knowledge to all of my friends.

I suppose that makes me a social media altruist—I post things that would be somewhat helpful or interesting to others.

This discovery of myself led me to explore the social media of a couple friends of mine.

One of my close friends, Sarah Harper, recently got married and the things that she posts are generally updates on her new life with her husband and nostalgic things of the past. It seems as though she shares in order to keep connected with people after her recent marriage.

Harper would be a social “Connecter”, according to Bouman. She uses her social media to stay connected with everyone in her life.

I am also close friends with an aspiring Opera Singer, Hayley Boggs.

Boggs generally either shares photos of her dogs (which, lets face it, everyone posts pictures of their pets) or to share events and photos of current musicals and recitals that she is a part of. Two of her most recent posts have been videos of her singing at a recital, sharing them, she gains views on those videos and widens her audience.

Boggs uses her social media to put the word out there about her current projects and widens her audience making her part of the “Careerist” profile on social media.

Though we may not realize it, we have reasons behind sharing the things that we do. Every post shared can be defined with Bouman’s sharing psychology.

This post alone is further evidence of my altruist persona; I am sharing the post to help others and I am including links throughout it to further help your understanding. Think about why you pressed share the next time you post a meme or a cat video, it may lead to a deeper understanding of your online life.


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