The “How” and “Why” of Facebook Sharing

Social Media Week

“52% of people surveyed claimed that they stay away from content that is controversial, and 32% said they are image-conscious and share things to maintain a certain image of themselves.”

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Since users have been given the option to hit the share button on Facebook, third-party content has flooded our feeds. It’s no mystery that we are sharing like crazy, but what and how are we sharing?

Fractl published a two-part study (more info here) on The Sharing Habits of the Average Facebook User and The Motivations for Sharing on Facebook, which gave insight into how and why different sexes and ages are sharing content on the most popular social media site in the world.

Millennials vs. Baby-Boomers

While the 38% of the 2,000 people surveyed claimed to share content less than once a week, male Millennials are the least likely to share content. Male and female Millennials are 4% less likely to share political content but unsurprisingly 6% more likely to share memes.

Baby boomers are the opposite, making them 15% less likely to share memes, and 7% more likely to share political news. Wondering where those cute cat pictures are coming from? Baby boomer women are 18% most likely to share cute animal or baby photos.

The one thing most Facebook users have in common is that they share humorous content, or at least what they find funny, the most.

Hot-Button Content

Today your Facebook profile can be how you make your first impression, whether it be with a potential employer, future roommate or friends of friends. So it’s really no surprise that 52% of people surveyed claimed that they stay away from content that is controversial, and 32% said they are image-conscious and share things to maintain a certain image of themselves.

However, the study shows that people become less self conscious with age. The percentage decrease in image-consciousness with age is 47% between Millennial and baby-boomer women and 26% between Millennial and baby-boomer men.

Why Do We Share?

Another finding from this study shows that most people don’t mindlessly share, 55% of people said they share things their friends will find useful. 65% of men and 73% of women agree that they share content because it helps them feel closer to their Facebook friends. Only 19% of men and 16% of women claimed to share third-party content to persuade their friends about something.

We all know that one person that constantly keeps showing up on our News Feed and we either unsubscribe from seeing their posts, or try to skim past their stuff. People who share content more than four times a day only make up 5% of the sharing population.

It is highly likely that they are the source of some of the controversial and political content that you see. Fractl found that people who share content more than four times a day are 43% less likely to avoid controversy, and 90% less likely to avoid sharing political content.

Cute cat pictures, conspiracy theories, or Tasty videos, third-party content keeps our News Feeds alive and interesting. Whether we’re just trying to share some knowledge, make people smile, or show support for a cause, it doesn’t look like we’ll stop hitting the share button anytime soon.

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Belen Martinez

Student, Ithaca College


Student living in Ithaca New York where I'm getting a Bachelor's degree in Emerging Media at the Ithaca College Roy H. Park School of Communications. I love traveling, food, and all things media.

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