Why do we like to share – the science and stats


The short version

While browsing the social media if we find something interesting, our first urge is to share. Our brain conspires to keep us happy. At that moment we want to share happiness with either the someone special or a small group of friends or to the world.

Depending on a large number of factors, you either want to share it and leave it or want a response in return. If it is that special one, you would wait for a response because you want to share that moment of happiness you just experienced.

We care about a few special people in our life and want to see them happy. Sharing a thought, good experience or a picture are ways of sharing happiness.

We respond to happiness because of our brain and the ability to find happiness. Your brain will respond to only those with whom you had a prior moment of happiness.

It is this happiness effect that the social media and even messengers are cashing on.

You can now proceed to read the longer version.

History of stories

In 2013, Snapchat introduced the feature of stories for the first time which had a series of pictures which disappeared after 24 hours. At that time, Snapchat was mostly used by the young people. Stories drew its popularity even further. Twitter was the first one to copy it two years later in 2015.

In 2016, Instagram copied it and soon Facebook and WhatsApp also followed. Finally it appeared on YouTube too.

Curious case of Instagram

For the first time Instagram in a blog update explained how they rank Feed & Stories, Explore section and Reels. Take a look at the screen grab below.

Originally Instagram assumed that people were only interested in seeing original stories shared by people. Also Instagram was initially not ranking anything from stories shared. However soon Instagram realised that people were sharing anything and everything in their stories and soon enough they had to change the algorithm.

The happiness factor – exploited

Happiness is believed to be the most dominant human emotion. So our brain is working overtime to keep us happy. All the day we have our happy moments. Instinctively we reach out to share. In the old days, with no digital communications we used to wait till the end of the day for a family time for talking and sharing. Today we are connected 24×7 and each happy moment we reach out for our smartphone.

For those lucky ones, be rest assured that you will get a constant stream of updates from that one special person which will actually make you more happier. While sharing this person is actually waiting for your response.

For those unlucky ones, who do not have that someone special, there is a group of close friends. Stories is the place where status updates are posted and the response goes to DM.

For those cursed ones who do not have friends share their stories to the world with their public account.

With most of the behaviour data available with the social media, they have seen the rise of story sharing. They are exploiting the happiness factor.

Story sharing for different scenarios

For personal accounts sharing for friends or for entertainment purpose is what most of us do. Instagram and Facebook measures the metrics just for data mining about behaviour. If you share sensitive information, you will land up in trouble with a ban.

For public accounts and small creators, Instagram goes all the way to give them space to grow and reach more audience. Originality and consistence is the key to get more visibility.

Brand owners can use stories to promote content and allow it to reach a wider audience. The first action which most people do as soon as they open the app is to check stories. It is basic human tendency to check what someone else is doing first. To get to that, you have to first have a target list of people whom you have to follow. Here is the suggest list of whom to.

  • Other accounts of similar products which you sell
  • Your suppliers and whole-sellers
  • Other accounts connected to your brand
  • Your prior customers/clients
  • Potential target audience

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