Sharing is Caring, Even on Social Media

How do you know what is going on in the world? Do you get up in the morning and turn on the television, or turn over in bed and look at your phone? The answer may depend on your age, still more people are turning to their phones for news than ever before.

A study published in AdWeek shows 80% of 18-44 years old reach for their phone first thing in the morning. The IDC Research report was sponsored by Facebook and claims 79% of smartphone users have the device with them for 22 hours a day. People site connectedness, curiosity, and productivity as the reason. A closer look at the study shows people check their Facebook news feeds on a regular basis, and people spend about 20 minutes a day on Facebook. Think about how quickly you check Facebook on your phone, and how easily those numbers can add up. This study was published in 2013, so you can assume the numbers have only gone up.

Adweek: Digital Study

If you are interested in the latest stats on Facebook check out this blog:

Facebook Stats Blog

Do you share content on Facebook? Many of us do, and that statistic continues to climb. News organizations and marketing companies spend a lot of money trying to figure out how to write a Facebook post so it will encourage people to share. There is no tried and true formula, but researchers keep looking.

Every wonder what makes a person share content on social media? That research still in its infancy but some trends are starting to emerge.

When it comes to social media, there are two types of people, those who observe and those who engage. A study in Journalism and Mass Communications Quarterly looked at those two groups and among their findings, those who spend more time on social media tend to be more heavily engaged. When a person joins a social media network, they often sit back and observe until they are comfortable.


When you share news or other content through social media, it is a way to create and maintain relationships according to a study published in Computers in Human Behavior.  News content had a higher social value when it came to sharing information. Those who share news tend to do to so as a sense of social responsibility. They want their “friends” to know what is going on in the world. There is also a sense of increasing your online status when you become highly engaged and share content frequently. Finally, people share information to gain peer acceptance, to show they are “in the know” and can be part of a larger conversation.


That peer-to-peer sharing gets shared more often that information put out by an organization or company. There is a level of trust between “friends” when it comes to the types of content that are shared (Mahmood & Sismeiro, 2017).


Peer-to-peer sharing is better than organizational sharing, because of the level of trust between “friends” according to a study out of London published in the  Journal of Interactive Marketing. This is why some companies are targeting those primary users with content, in hopes that they share to the wide range of “friends” they have on Facebook or other social media networks. It has been shown, at least on Facebook, that “friends” tend to visit the same websites and can be driven to those sites through shared content.  This definitely has a financial impact to the company because more eyes on a website mean higher ad revenue.

So why do you “share” on social media? How as a company can you tap into that need for people to be social as a way to get more engagement for your audience? This has become the topic of a paper I am writing for a course, and find the questions fascinating.


Side Note:

Programs like Facebook’s Instant Articles tends to keep people on the social media network and not visiting those originating websites, meaning a potential loss of revenue for the news organizations. There is a financial arrangement between the news generators and Facebook currently. In fact, a new report claims Google and Facebook account for nearly all the growth in digital advertising, the numbers are still be debated you can read the report from Fortune here.



Choi, J. “News Internalizing and Externalizing: The Dimensions of News Sharing on           Online Social Networking Sites.” Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly 93.4 (2016):         816-35. Web.
Ingram, Mathew. “Google and Facebook Account For Nearly All Growth in Digital Ads.” Google and Facebook Reap Almost All Digital Ad Growth | Fortune, 26 Apr. 2017. Web. 28 Apr. 2017.
Lafferty, Justin. “STUDY: How Addicted Are We To Facebook Mobile?” – Adweek. Adweek, 27 Mar. 2013. Web. 28 Apr. 2017.

Lee, Chei Sian, and Long Ma. “News Sharing in Social Media: The Effect of Gratifications and      Prior Experience.” Computers in Human Behavior 28.2 (2012): 331-39. Web.

Mahmood, A., & Sismeiro, C. (2017). Will They Come and Will They Stay? Online Social  Networks and News Consumption on External Websites. Journal of Interactive             Marketing, 37, 117-132. doi:10.1016/j.intmar.2016.10.003
Stadd, Allison. “79% Of People 18-44 Have Their Smartphones With Them 22 Hours A Day [STUDY].” – Adweek. Adweek, 2 Apr. 2013. Web. 28 Apr. 2017.
“Top 20 Facebook Statistics – Updated April 2017.” Zephoria Inc. Zephoria Inc., 11 Apr. 2017. Web. 28 Apr. 2017.



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