7 Factors That Drive People To Share Content With Their Social Networks

By Megan O'Neill Comment

When you see content online, be it a video, an image, a game or a blog post, what is it that entices you to share that content with your friends online? Here are seven main factors that drive people to share content with their friends on Twitter, Facebook and other social networks.

Laughter

Laughter is one of the biggest reasons that people share content on the web. If something makes you laugh, you want to make other laugh. Therefore, you post the content to your Facebook wall or to your Twitter account to make your friends laugh and put a smile on their faces. After all, laughter makes us feel good so why not spread the love?

I’m going to provide mostly video examples of each of these seven factors, though they can be applied to sharing all kinds of content, from images to written posts and everything in between. This video always makes me laugh and I have shared it with my friends, time and time again. Now I’m sharing it with you! I dare you to try and watch it without laughing out loud!

Inspiration

Just like laughter makes people happy and they want to spread the joy, when people see something that inspires them they want to share the inspiration. It could be artistic inspiration, a motivational speech or blog post, or an idea that inspires us to spread love and happiness throughout our communities. One of my favorite inspirational videos is the ‘Free Hugs Campaign’, and I’m not the only one who finds it inspirational. This video has been viewed over 64 million times, and a video doesn’t get that many views without a lot of sharing!

Cuteness

People also love to share things with their friends that are sickeningly cute, adorable and all-around goochy-goo inspiring. Everything from cute babies to fuzzy animals fit into this category. Check out the cutie patootie in the image below that I found on CuteOverload.com. Don’t you just want to eat him up, and share him with all your friends?

Originality

When people see something creative and original they are also likely to want to share it. For instance, check out this business card for a second hand store that I found in a CreativeBits post about cool business card ideas. Pretty original, eh? By the way, this could also fit under the inspiration category, if you or a friend is looking for inspiration for a new business card design.

Shock

Have you ever seen something online that was so shocking you didn’t know what to say? A lot of people, when they see content that shocks and offends them to the core, send the content to some friends to see what sort of response they get. I think it follows the fact that when something gets a strong reaction out of people they want to share it with others, to see if the other people have similar strong reactions.

When I first saw this Gusher’s ad featuring a kid named Todd that was born with a Gusher for an eye I was disgusted. My first response? Share it with our readers here at Social Times, of course! I wasn’t surprised to find that a lot of our readers had similar reactions of disgust.

Surprise

Has anyone ever played a great prank on you that you just couldn’t wait to play on one of your other friends? Sometimes content on the web lets you do just that. Check out the video below for an example of what I’m talking about. I don’t want to tell you anything about it because I don’t want to ruin the surprise!

Nostalgia

Finally, one of the biggest factors that gets people to share web content with their friends in social networks is nostalgia. Whether it’s a song from years ago that they post on their high school friend’s Facebook wall, a commercial they remember from their childhood, or an article from the town where they grew up, people love to share content that brings back memories.

I really like to reminisce by watching old toy commercials from the 1980s, and when I find a really great one for a toy that I remember having I usually send it to my brother or to friends in my age group that may have had the same toy. Here’s one of my favorite 80’s toy commercials – My Buddy & Kid Sister! And to make it even better, it starts out with the ABC Family ‘After These Messages We’ll Be Right Back’ jingle. Classic.

What’s the last thing you saw online that you just had to share? Feel free to share it with us in the comments and let us know which of these factors drove you to share it!

Image of Hamsters Sharing: Forest Kobayashi

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