☞ Sharing is caring ?
What do we really share ? What does SHARING really mean ?
You can tell a lot about a person by the content they share.
We share feelings, opinions, thoughts, ideas and informations. We all feel the need to share with the others. In fact, since the expansion of the “Web 2.0” -as referenced in the book Understanding Social Media (chapter 2), sharing has become a process used for many reasons across different platforms.
There are several explanations for this desire to “share”. As Charles Leadbeater said in his book We Think : The Power of Mass Creativity : “You are what you share”. The concept of sharing on the internet is not all black or all white.
“ In our society, the protocols of communications are not based on the sharing of culture but on the culture of sharing” (Castells 2009 : 126)
We share what we want, in order to show a certain image of ourselves. But, is it only for personal satisfaction ?
The content that is shared online can be informal, entertaining, or both. Although, the most shared content on the internet is usually pictures. Indeed, we can illustrate this idea by a simple example : 500 millions of tweets are sent everyday on Twitter, but the most interesting information here is that a tweet with a picture is twice as likely to be shared.
But is this really the reflection of our “true us” ?
Carl Rogers can probably give an explanation through his theory of “Ideal Self” and “Real Self”, which is exactly the issue with Instagram. We use that instant post to show our “identity”, or at least, the one we want to give ourselves on the internet.
But, it is not so different from reality because we post to receive feedback, it seems obvious. It is about the same as irl (in real life), indeed, when we start a conversation with someone, we are also waiting for a reaction, an answer : a validation.
This brings us to the phenomenon of “filtered reality”. The author Jill Walker Rettberg proposed an explanation in his book :
“In today’s algorithmic culture, the filter has become a pervasive metaphor (…) Filters can be technological, cultural or cognitive, or they can be a combination of these”.
As a matter of fact, we tend to filter reality for several reasons; to express our belonging to a group, to socialize, but we are mainly waiting for a validation from the others.
Apart from the aspects that can be considered negative, sharing also allows us to share in order to promote, or disseminate ideologies based on causes we believe in. We can quote organizations such as “#BringBackOurGirls”, or “#BlackLivesMatter”. They are both hashtag bound. The hashtag itself is a sharing tool, fast and effective.
Moreover, most brands use this sharing method to expand their market. Sharing therefore also has an economic dimension.
So, sharing has now become a kind of habit. It actually helps us to connect and to interact.
- Understanding Social Media, by Sam Hinton & Larissa Hjorth
- Seeing Ourselves Through Technology : How We Use Selfies, Blogs, and Wearable Devices to See and Shape Oursevles, by Jill Walker Rettberg