Tuesday, August 17, 2010

What, why, and how we share

Facebook is a funny place. It seems that sharing something on Facebook now means essentially the same thing as "liking" something. This change likely occurred when Facebook announced their plans to broaden their platform. I thought then, and still feel now, the term "like" is rather overloaded. Not only does it mean "Fan" as it was called in its former iteration, but now it means "like" and possibly "share?" Wow, that's confusing. Terminology aside, this got me wondering, what does it mean to "share" something? Why would someone "share" something rather than "liking" something? Thankfully, I'm not the only one who's been thinking about this. Apparently there's a lot of content out there on why people share, and how people share and what people share.

Let's start with the "what" people share. This one comes paraphrased from Clay Shirky's SXSWi 2010 talk. People Share:
  • Goods
  • Services
  • Information
He goes on to make some great comparisons on how they compare to one another.

In terms of "why" people share, I ran across a few presentations, loosely summarized, by the following list:
  • enjoyment in helping others
  • presentation of one's identity
  • reputation
  • potential for new connections
  • receiving feedback

As for "how" people share, I ran across an interesting presentation on that talked about three types of sharing:
  • spontaneous
  • planned
  • gaming (or experiential, in my opinion)
Out of all the pieces on "sharing" that I found recently, the "how" people share was most notable. I think what intrigued me the most was that it really sums up the differences in something like sharing. Sure, the motivations and the what may all be different...but how are they really manifested? it's in the "how" people share. Sharing a bit of information in person is a lot different than doing so via text. Just think about the visceral reactions we get when we hear about relationships ending over text messages -- there's something not quite right about that. Having a way to segment how sharing occurs helps make sense of why we share what we do.

So what? Why do I bother posting this? Aside from my desire to share this with folks (to get a response, to hopefully help people, etc), it's also a way for me to organize my thoughts around it. Thanks for your attention.

Somewhat related: