25 January 2015 | 23 Comments
I was sitting on an airplane today waiting for takeoff. We were about to leave the gate, so we knew we only had a minute or two remaining of cell phone use.
I used that time to check my e-mail once more, then switched my phone over to airplane mode. As I did, I glanced across the aisle at a fellow passenger who was using that last minute of cell phone time to…scroll through his Facebook feed.
I’m fascinated by what people share online and why they share it. Memes, viral videos, random quotes, personal stories, the Serial podcast, and, of course, crowdfunding campaigns.
What compels people to do more than just “like” or “favorite” something, or more than even comment something? What inspires people to actually share it? And how can Kickstarter creators create content people want to share?
I have three separate theories and one combined master theory:
- “You are what you share.” –Seth Godin: Online and offline, we share things that define the way we want other people to perceive us. We want to be seen as funny or clever or compassionate, so we post or well-written articles or videos of dogs greeting their owners after long trips. The things I share reflect the person I want to be.
- “People don’t share commercials; they share emotions.” –Scott Stratten: When content gives us permission to feel strongly about something–as inconsequential as it may be–we share it or we use that content to express our feelings. The focus is on strong emotions. We share extremes–the best pizza, the funniest video, the cutest kitten, the most popular project.
- People like to help other people. Mostly this is altruistic. It’s a philosophy I often talk about on this blog–making it about them, not you. But I think this is still closely connected to #1 above–when we help others through content we share, we position ourselves as someone who is helpful, and that feels good.
How do those theories combine? Here’s my answer for why we share:
“I want to talk about this.”
We share things because we want to talk about them. Sometimes that means we want to actually converse with people, to discuss whether the new lightsaber makes any sense. Sometimes it means we’re creating a platform for us to talk to other people (not with them)–it’s a grandstand, and we’re looking for agreement. Other times, we’re looking to incite–we’re looking for disagreement and debate.
How does this apply to Kickstarter creators? If you want people to share your project, don’t just leave it to the “share” button on Kickstarter. Create images that people want to talk about because they make that people look and feel awesome, clever, or funny. Share those images in project updates and on social media.
I must admit that this is uncharted territory for me. I’ve shared plenty of images in project updates, but I haven’t geared any of them towards social sharing. I’ve also shared screenshots of certain milestones in projects, accompanying them with statements about my emotions and gratitude, but again, that’s more about me than other people, and people have responded accordingly (liked, not shared).
So this is a work in progress. I’ll try out this new method on our upcoming Between Two Cities campaign and we’ll see how it goes.
In the meantime, I’d love to hear your thoughts. When and why do you share crowdfunding campaigns or associated images/posts? What compels you to share?