This Is Why We Share Positive Content Online

If you've ever taken a peek at the comment section of any site — including Refinery29 — you will immediately see that the internet is not always the nicest place. Just this week the EU had to pass a Code of Conduct for how tech companies manage hate, negativity, and propaganda online.

With just cause: Online hate has spilled into real life problems. Researchers found that as more people gained access to the Internet in the early 2000's, more hate crimes started to occur. Despite this negativity, positive content is more likely to be shared, liked, and go viral online.

In Episode 5 of our Strong Opinions Loosely Held podcast, R29's Elisa Kreisinger explores why there is such a dichotomy in a medium that builds community as well as tears it down. Does positivity go viral because we want to seem like good people, or is this an accurate reflection of who we are?

Below, we chat with Kreisinger about the inspiration for this week's episode and her takeaways.

What are some negative effects of only sharing positive content?
"I personally think it inspires arm-chair activism whereby people think they are doing something great for their community or humanity by sharing a video in their Facebook feed, when it’s not [creating] much on-the-ground social change...I think we need to be honest with ourselves when we share an über positive video that the goal of that video is often to get views to sell to advertisers, not to create lasting systemic change."

What is your favorite viral video?
"Above Average has been killing it with Facebook comedy videos. "When Parents Find Out Their Daughter Makes Jewelry" is about learning your grown-ass child is going to open an Etsy shop for her career path will make you laugh/cry. And "First Person to Run a Marathon Without Talking About It" celebrates the 'radical' woman who ran a marathon without bragging about it. I love seeing a cultural [phenomenon] turned it on its head to be funny and prove a point. And then have that point resonate with others."

What is the cost of virality on an individual?
"That’s a really great question. With virality comes an audience and with an audience comes a brand. With a brand comes advertisers. We are now living in a world where a once casual life choice is now a business decision. So to answer your question, the cost of virality is lots of psychotherapy."

Listen below via SoundCloud. Subscribe to Strong Opinions Loosely Held on iTunes.
Advertisement
Advertisement

More from Tech

You're at 20,000 feet, and you realize your flight doesn’t have WiFi — which wouldn't be a big deal, except you forgot your book at home, and none of your ...
It's a sad but true fact that a bad commute — one where you just miss the bus or subway — has the power to ruin your day. More often than not, these near...
When you think of playing a video game, what comes to mind? Is it a raucous game of Wii Bowling when you were in college? Hours spent on your Game Boy ...
GENERATION STARTUP presents Women In Tech, an episode of an exclusive web series with footage left on the cutting room floor. The feature documentary ...
If you're a Yahoo user (or ever have been), you'll want to change your password ASAP — and not just on that Yahoo account. Today, the company confirmed ...
There are two types of people in this world: the zero-inbox purists, and the ones with hundreds (or even thousands) of unread messages in their inbox. ...
It may seem like your car hasn't let you down. But apparently, all these years, you've been driving a vehicle suited for the wrong gender. At least that's ...
(Paid Content) Refinery29 is now on Versy, a messaging and content-sharing app made for busy people like us
The iPhone 7 may not be a mystery anymore, but the hype surrounding it is far from gone. Now that we know what it looks like (hello, new camera) and what's...
Without a doubt, dating in 2016 is an art form. If you’re single and looking for love, you know where the scene is. It’s online. (Unless you’ve made it ...
Instagram's latest update includes a tool that's ideal for every perfectionist — or anyone who spends time editing a photo in the app, only to get ...
I was doing my usual routine of scrolling through Instagram while eating my lunch when I saw a truly disturbing image: The now-10-year-old boy I used to ...
In the past, your phone has likely emitted a hideously blaring, horn-like sound to indicate you were receiving a flash-flood warning from the national ...
As a small business owner for the better part of a decade, I’ve learned firsthand that time is my most valuable resource — yes, even over money. You can ...