Why we share on social media

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This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss a blog post and video about  sharing on social media…..

Some young American researchers have now documented the decision-making process that takes place in our brains when we weigh the question of whether to share a piece of information on social media.

Using fMRI machines, which track the parts of the brain that are activated when someone is doing something, the researchers discovered that the key factor is self-oriented rather than friend-centred. Here is what senior author Emily Falk had to say: “[People] share things that might improve their relationships, make them look smart or empathic or cast them in a positive light.”

The article continued…

Rather than the decision being about whether someone’s friends might enjoy a particular article, for the subjects in the study, it came down to deciding if an article would make them appear smarter or nicer in the eyes of their friends.

Another piece of research explored what is most likely to make a post go viral. Their findings? The more activity each article generated in key brain areas, the more likely it was to be shared. Interesting how neuroscience can reveal so much, isn’t it? You can see the entire article here and be sure to check out the video at the bottom.

Thanks to reader Petruta Bunaciu for sharing the article with me.