Arriagada, A; Cancino, F; Santana, L. (2018, en revisión). “I always share content with a desire to be seen”. Unpacking young people’s motivations and strategies for sharing contents on Facebook.
The term “sharing” has become established in academic discussions as a concept that describes a series of activities in the context of social media. Recent studies have mainly attempted to explain the practice of sharing as the result of combining a series of technological skills and types of use. This research aims to expand this analysis by focusing on user sociability on Facebook, and the motivations and practices related to content sharing of those who communicate on the platform.
This study explores the motivations and experiences of a group of 25 young people (18-29 years old) who share content on Facebook. By complementing quantitative cluster analysis from a national survey data with semi-structured interviews and observations of user practices on the platform, this study defined the following motivations for sharing content on Facebook: as a form of communication for socializing with others, motivated by engagement and need for belonging; and as a way of signaling one’s presence and communicating with oneself, driven by attention-seeking and inner-communication motivations. Finally, we show that Facebook users highlight agency as a relevant aspect of interacting on the platform. This study sheds light onto the mental, emotional, and material operations when sharing content on Facebook primarily geared toward establishing links and strengthening social relationships.