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.

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