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Archive for February, 2012

Sharing; viagra for the soul


There have been an abundant amount of researches to human behaviour; about which colours stimulates purchases and what kind of spontaneous humor works best – and a lot about why people share online. Yet, most of these researches presume that participants consciously know why they share, resulting in ‘sharing motives’, such as; ‘to build relationships’ and ‘to bring valuable and entertaining contents to others.’ If this where true, then why do I keep seeing all this drivel on my newsfeed?’

Furthermore, these researches are full with obvious abstract crap like ‘sharing is a basic unit of socializing’-blabla. None of them can clearly tell me what sharing is about.

Ignasi Alcalde, some Spanish dude with a multimedia degree (he doesn’t say which one), says: ‘Sharing makes me feel generous, unselfish.’

Well – let me tell you why sharing is utmost selfish.


Sharing is about the action, not about content. Wake up. We share, because we have this urge to ‘contribute’ constantly. The likes of Facebook and Twitter have only enhanced this urge, and so we spread our artificial blitheness to fill the void and feel, just for a moment, that we’ve made an impression. It’s this addiction to sharing that has taken away our ability to filter what’s interesting and what’s not – although; who am I to argue with that?

With the summer on our doorstep, there’s a prodigious amount of boosh-wah waiting to flood our social media channels, hence I’m slightly worried.

For most, Facebook is merely a tool to showcase our happy-happy lives. Each photo screams; ‘Hey, look how happy I am!’ Your whole profile is a monument to your joys and accomplishments, no matter how trivial and beer-soaked they are. Specially the new Timeline is designed to make you feel proud about yourself. As Sam Biddle, editor at my fav blog Gizmodo, puts it; ‘a place to share your glee – share it all over everyone’s faces, whether they like it or not.’

Copernicus said, some 500 years ago; ‘As a matter of fact, the world revolves around me.’ – but today this is accurate as ever. And Nancy Dixon, an Associate Professor of Administrative Sciences at The George Washington University, has this wonderful anecdote on her website:

‘It was a rare day when a visitor asked for directions; “Do you know where the Kennedy Center is? Where’s the Metro stop?”

Far from being annoyed, I was actually pleased to be asked. DC is a difficult city to find your way around in and my own extensive knowledge of the city was hard won. I was proud of my ability to navigate the city. In fact, my pride was such that sometimes if I saw a couple standing on a street comer with a map spread out between them, I would even offer, “May I help you find some place?”

My guess is that everyone has a similar experience with a subject they know very well.’

Seth Godin; ‘Me, me, me. My favorite person: Me.’
He continues; ‘I don’t want e-mail, I want me-mail.’

Dana Boyd, a Senior Researcher at Microsoft Research, says; ‘I really wouldn’t be surprised if we found a cave painting that outlined what the dwellers ate for breakfast. So why are we so offended when people use the internet to do this?’

Well, I’m not offended, just slightly annoyed. I like it when people share their records. Until I don’t. Cause there’s the notion of ‘too much’. There are only so many photos of coffee mugs I can see before thinking; ‘too much’ – and only so many Instagram-dripped images of blue skies, before I think; ‘too much’. The same applies to photos of your cat, beer, wine, parties and food, plus all that which has shared and seen before, such as images from 9GAG, inspirational quotes from Ghandi or the Dalai Lama and ‘funny’ YouTube videos.

You share it all to feel good about yourself.

But hey – there’s nothing wrong with selfishness. I only intent to clarify.