Why We ‘Like’, ‘Share’, and ‘Comment’ on Everything in Social Media

6 Reasons People Interact On Social Media

Why We ‘Like’, ‘Share’, and ‘Comment’ on Everything in Social Media

The introduction of social media has enabled us to transmit information, from details of new products and innovations to what we had for lunch, all within seconds. Networking using social media has both amazing benefits and opportunities, but raises some serious issues and concerns too. It’s sometimes difficult to decide how much information is too much, to draw the line between public and private.

Hence, the more pressing question for those who wish to get the most out of social media is: why? What impells people to share links, click “Like” on a page, and hit the “ReTweet” button – what are the psychological driving forces behind our social interactions online?

To Nurture Relationships

On an individual level, it seems that many people’s urge to share online comes from a desire to forge and reinforce connections with others. Sharing personal information, of course, is one way in which interpersonal relationships are fostered and maintained.

However, other kinds of information are also shared in the interests of strengthening connections with others. Whether it’s an amusing cartoon shared to entertain friends and family or an industry whitepaper of interest to colleagues and clients, sharing content helps to provide those stronger connections. Sharing provokes discussion and interaction; even superficial exchanges help us to deepen a sense of personal connection.

To Deliver Valuable Content

As well as providing a centre for discussion and networking, information is often shared because it’s perceived as valuable. Between friends, valuable information might be a recipe, movie review or a just plain gossip. For professionals, it might be news or comments relating to the industry they work in.

Companies might share general information relating to their field of operations. They may also use social media to advise their consumer base of new products; events such as launches or special offers; and to provide information that will help consumers get the most out of the products they already own.

To Define Ourselves

In both personal and professional contexts, we share content to define ourselves. Whether we’re indicating a fondness for a particular TV show or commenting on a news item, we’re telling the world something about who we are – what interests us, what we know, what we care about. In the case of younger social media users, this self-expression could be sharing the latest video from a favorite pop star.

For a professional, defining oneself means demonstrating an interest in and mastery of one’s field through commenting on and sharing articles, news and other data. Being able to demonstrate the depth of knowledge, as well as communicating a degree of investment both in the topic at hand also allows us to position ourselves as “thought leaders” or subject experts.

To Encourage Participation

Social media is frequently used to raise awareness of various causes and encourage others to take action. There are many different manifestations of this. The simplest are “chain statuses,” short notes intended to be copied and pasted quickly to raise awareness of an issue and demonstrate solidarity with those affected by it. By liking or sharing a news item relating to an issue, we can raise awareness of that issue while offering context and further information. Calls-to-action such as petitions or fundraisers can also be shared.

To Increase Brand Awareness

An example of this is the use of Facebook’s “fan” pages: companies can create their own page which users can then follow, allowing them to receive regular updates on new products or other useful information. Companies that share content from elsewhere on the Web, such as user-made videos demonstrating their products or news stories relating to their field of operation, can increase their value to consumers. It’s in a company’s interest to ensure that their websites are shared widely as this has a positive impact on their search rankings.

To Gratify Oneself

Sharing via social media, whether it’s a simple “like” or upvote or a more elaborate response, can bring a sense of involvement and connectivity which is fulfilling to the user. If I’ve enjoyed an amusing webcomic or benefited from a useful how-to video, being able to reward the creator with an approving comment or even just a positive vote brings me a degree of satisfaction.

Even if the item being shared or commented on is perceived as negative by the viewer, such as a worrying news item, being able to respond in some way can help. If everyone tells you that you can’t sing on YouTube, then you most probably can’t – but you wouldn’t have known until you’ve actually put it out there.


In the final analysis, we are social beings and sharing information is a natural impulse for all of us. Organizations that can produce engaging, useful or entertaining media that people want to share will enjoy a significant advantage over their rivals.

*All prepared for Social Media Marketing in Web 2.0? Find out what’s in store for Social Media in Web 3.0

About Daniel Tan

Daniel Tan: A veteran Internet Marketer. Founder of SomoThemes, Social Metrics Pro, SEOPressor and XTabApps. Daniel's focus is to simplify marketing with technology, to help marketers reach more people in an organized and effective way.

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