For all the talk about social media being a place to engage and have conversations, sharing content is probably what most people do the most.
The question is why so much sharing?
What is it about social media that makes it such an active medium to share interesting articles, photos, infographics, videos, etc. with other people?
Is it vanity? Is it goodwill? Is it a way to reward interesting, weird, different or high-quality content? Is it about personal branding?
It’s probably all of the above, as well as many other reasons. The reality is social media is a super-easy way to share content, while human beings are inherently information disseminators.
Telling people information about things we have found, seen or read is part of our personal make-ups. It’s what we do, so social media only serves to facilitate and accelerate this activity.
That said, a recent survey of Canadians using Twitter and Facebook showed some interesting differences in how we use different platforms.
On Twitter, for example, 79% of respondents said the reason they shared content was to endorse it. On Facebook, endorsing content was only cited by 32% of respondents.
Many of the other categories ranked fairly closely with the exception of “gain followers/build a brand”. Only 2% of Twitters users said they shared content to achieve this goal, compared with 11% of Facebook users.
One of the more interesting trends to watch in 2015 is how content curation will become more popular and valuable for brands and individuals.
While there are many reasons to share content, there is more interest in how shared content is packaged and tracked, and how it can deliver better ROI.
Platforms such as Pressly, which allow brands to create destinations to share their own and curated third-party content, will likely gain more traction so brands can have more control shared content.
At the same time, you will likely see more services such as Snip.ly, which lets people add a small “branding widget” when they share content via social media. It’s a way to gain a little more of the spotlight, other than the goodwill of sharing content.
In many respects, the social media sharing economy is evolving and moving in interesting directions. While people will continue to enthusiastically share, there will also be more ways to capitalize on this activity.