Why Do We Share Content?

We learned in kindergarten that it is good and important to share. That somehow sharing makes us a better person. Now with the mobile world and the fixation of sharing information or content, could it be we share for the same reason we learned in kindergarten?

Understanding why we share content via social media actually has significant SEO ramifications. We know that the quality of the content you have on your website and the frequency of which that content is shared in the social media sphere are both strong indicators for ranking on the search results page. So the more sharable our content becomes the more it can help boost ranking.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania attempted to scientifically answer the question of why we share content. They analyzed the content of the New York Times list of most-emailed articles over a six month period. Jonah Berger had a similar study published in Psychological Science on the topic.

The main takeaways from both studies are:

  • People tend to share positive articles more than negative ones.
  • Stories that elicit an “awe” reaction are shared more often.
  • People feel like they are making an emotional connection with others when they share content.
  • Content we share often helps define who we are and what we believe in. It says something about us.
  • People prefer to share emotionally stimulating content.

The words on a page have the potential to inspire and excite us. If the words on your website simply sit there and take up space, it is unlikely they are going to be proactively shared with the world. The most sharable content speaks to the human psyche in a positive and moving way.