The Science of Sharing

Of course…

Fortunes are being made by those who understand what motivates sharing online. Despite all the boasting and claims, however, there really aren’t very many individuals who “get it.”

Researchers at UCLA discovered a specific part of our brains — the TPJ, or Temporal Parietal Junction — that activates when we are deciding what and when to share.

I won’t go into the neroscience except to explain that the TPJ works to help us connect with the beliefs and emotions of others. It’s the seat of empathy.

Look at this:


That’s Katherine Cathey, sleeping on the floor next to the casket of her husband, Lt. James Cathey.

You’ve probably seen it before. It’s a devastating image of loss that is instantly understandable and perhaps by sharing it, we hope to express our own grief, as well as our gratitude, for such a sacrifice.

It’s not just tear-jerkers that move sharing. Funny also does. In fact, the specific emotion of what is being shared seems less significant than what we believe those with whom we share something will feel when they see it.

Read that again, slowly.

Now, spend your time thinking about the shared content that moves you to re-share it within your group.

Focus on those with whom you hope to evoke an emotional response.

If you can do that, effectively, consistently, you’re on your way.

I have always believed the best way to move people is via emotional connections. This latest research simply proves it.



(My thanks to Steve Allan, the source of the idea for this post.)