What is the hidden psychology behind sharing on Facebook?

Every generation starts a new trend. Without much deliberation we will all agree that social networking has been one of the greatest time pass of current times. When it comes to personal sharing “Facebook” has been at the top of the list and has largest viewership among all other social networks. So let’s delve into what is the hidden psychology behind sharing in “Facebook”. Is it the herd mentality which is the driving force for most to follow the band wagon? Is it entertainment value or peer pressure? The “liking, posting, sharing, commenting” has become so much of a habit that people feel a compulsive need to log in from any corner of the world at any time however impossible. The ‘smartphones’ have come to existence to cater to this need. Easy sharing is the ‘key reason’ to why everyone is looking for a good camera in a phone. All our actions are mostly guided by underlying meanings, which is necessary to discover to realise our stance better.


1 The pleasure centre of the brain responding positively

Some researchers in Germany conducted a survey to understand whether brain activity and social media is related. The finding published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, stated that the participants’ “nucleus accumbens” was observed responding. This part of the brain reads signals from rewards like money, food, sex and gains in reputation. Similarly positive feedback in Facebook gives a sense of reward and fulfillment to make the user get an ‘instant high’. Another study discloses that it arouses the “flow state” caught in participants through pupil dilation which happens when you are completely engrossed with the activity. Thus the pleasure center of the brain responding positively many is a major cause for this action.

The pleasure centre of the brain responding positively

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2 The creation of a self image and seeking acceptance through it

Every person wants to project their own identity and seek acceptance. 68% of the users noted by a study in New York Times Research feel this to be the need to be in Facebook. Sometimes you are misrepresented and people have misconceptions about you. The best way to clear the air is to give first hand information to your friends, colleagues and relatives. Psychologists argue that we have two selves the ‘now self’ and the ‘possible self’. The urge to make an idyllic image for more ‘likes’, and quick appreciation may also be a cause for many. Nevertheless, not all out there are portraying their real image.

The creation of a self image and seeking acceptance through it

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3 For the sake of easy sharing of life events, news and more

The world has shrunk completely to a small neighborhood where just by mere clicks you can get yourself connected. Technology can help connect a user anyone in any part of the world in a matter of split seconds. It is easy sharing of news whether of marriage, a housewarming or a holiday that makes Facebook very enjoyable. Visual media is always enticing to the mind.

Each one however has different purpose and motivation to share. Youngsters like to make a life statement while sharing…where they are eating out, what music they are listening to or which movie they are choosing to watch etc. Some others are sharing their views on politics and economics. There are some discovering new eateries and sharing the news with friends. There are various marketers who are looking for potential customers and sharing their products to increase sales.


Sharing life events is also a kind of announcement to the world for example change of school, marriage or a child birth. It is becoming more common and acceptable to get news via Facebook in recent times.

For the sake of easy sharing of life events, news and more

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4 Loneliness a cause of building virtual communities

Caught in the complicated web of relationships many seem lonely and unhappy. With the increase in failed marriages there is a growing vacuum in lives.

The big family structures are almost non prevalent, separating most for work demands. Old parents are left to fend alone while children move on for jobs and career choices.


In either ways loneliness is a huge factor to be dealt with. One way of surviving this is by building virtual connects. Loneliness is one of the biggest causes for virtual socializing.

Loneliness a cause of building virtual communities

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5 Busy life – Easy sharing

Life has got very busy and hectic for most. If we compare our pace of life with that of our grandfather’s, we would realise theirs have been more relaxed, slow and enjoyable compared to the madly busy life of metropolitan cities today. Time is a rare commodity. In such a scenario keeping in touch with close friends seems to be heavenly.

Work demands are very high and there is little time left for socializing. Child rearing also has become more challenging than yesteryears due to more exposure to various media. It seems to be the best option really to keep a good balance between the two worlds with virtual socializing for many. It is in fact very refreshing to connect with friends at the end of the day – non judgmental and all accepting of who we are. It turns out to be a very fulfilling and quite doable with the hectic schedule of life.

Busy life - Easy sharing

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6 Showing support to various causes

When people wish to be vociferous about the prevalent political systems they give their support of disapproval for the same. They comment on policies and leaders to display their support of approval or dismal dissatisfaction.

Many a times users support causes which they always strongly identify with and wish to be vocal about. For example Breast Cancer Awareness programs, Aid Awareness programs, Education for the underprivileged etc.


Sometimes posts even go viral as users aroused by the positive or negative content start reacting emotionally and keep re-posting it with their personal views. A whopping 84 % of participants in a New York Times research said their need to show support to issues they relate to and care about, is their biggest reason for using Facebook.

Showing support to various causes

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7 Mere entertainment and time pass

Some others use Facebook for the mere entertainment, just to feed their burning curiosity about friends and relatives. To catch up with photos and videos shared by friends. Sometimes even keeping up with news and current events and happens around the world.


Facebook is also used for organizing events. It is easy to announce and invite in this mode. It is a great way of interaction to lighten up from serious work. It is an easy means of wishing on birthdays and anniversaries to make a friend or close one feel special and happy.

Mere entertainment and time pass

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