PSYCHOLOGY & SOCIAL MEDIA
PSYCHOLOGY & SOCIAL MEDIA
Duncan McIntyre
Monday, January 4, 2021 9:59 AM

Why do we post on social media? Is it the instant gratification we receive? Or a sense of belonging? Or is it simply just because we actually like the photo? We’re not exactly sure, but we as a society have come to the conclusion that it has something to do with several psychological motivations and the release of something called ‘pleasure chemicals.’

Passing information on is an impulse that we’ve been naturally gifted with. Even just thinking about the possibility of sharing content online activates our brain’s reward centers, releasing pleasure chemicals such as Dopamine and Oxytocin. Social Media creates an environment where these have the ability to be released regularly getting stimulated by a variety of social media features. For example, the brain will release dopamine when someone likes or comments positively on your photos, perpetuating your social media habit even further.

Alongside this, there are 5 main psychological motivations for sharing online:

  1. PHYSIOLOGICAL NEEDS

    People post to benefit others in some sense. This could be posting to keep family informed about recent events or warn the community about something that could affect them all.

  2. SAFETY FOR EVERYONE

    We post for physical, mental, and financial safety, knowing that sharing this information with others will help keep them safe in one way or another.

  3. A SENSE OF BELONGING

    We want acceptance - We’re human. We want to feel loved and adored by a larger community of people than those who just surround us. This is another reason why we post.

  4. EGO BOOSTER

    The world revolves around me, right? Well not quite, but when we post something, for a split second, it kind of does? The red notifications start to go off and for that very moment, it's all about you.

  5. AND SELF-ACTUALISATION