Why do people like and share certain things online?

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Why do people like and share certain things online?

Why do people like and share certain things on social media websites?
Why do certain things appeal to certain people?
Why can a person find a post very interesting yet his friends find it uninteresting?

in the past few weeks i have been researching the reasons why certain things get shared online a lot and why do other things never make it. Read this article to understand why certain things appeal to certain people.

Who do certain things appeal to certain people

People like pictures, status updates and videos that resonate with their beliefs. This means that a person is very likely to share a post that repeats what he believes in.

The need for approval is a built in need that every human being comes with and because people feel that they are getting support from posts that repeat what they believe in they feel good when they share them.

People also love to share posts that reassure them that they are right. See the below picture for example:

While this picture is clearly a joke still it gives a smoker a sense of satisfaction because someone is telling him that he is doing nothing wrong.

Belief conflict and sharing

Sometimes a person might like a picture because it matches some of his beliefs but in the same time he might not share it because it contradicts with some of his values!

An adult joke might sound so true to a person yet he might not share it if it contradicts with his religious values.

The conclusion i want you to reach is that people don't share jokes only because they make them laugh but there is usually another motivating force that motivates them to spread the joke.

People want to spread their own beliefs using jokes and similar posts and that's why they share them. The more a joke supports a person's beliefs and values the more funny he will find it! (see also The psychology of jokes)

In fact many people won't notice why they are sharing certain posts and they might believe that they are doing so just because they make them laugh.

The mental state and sharing stuff

The mental state of a person plays a very big role in affecting the things he shares online. For example, you will usually find most people talking about the same economic or political event right after it happens.(see also why do we find certain things interesting)

That's why some of the posts that target these certain events, during the time when the news is still fresh, go viral.

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Want to know more?

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