09 February 2010

What you read and what you send on

Jonah Berger and Kathleen Milkman at University of Pennsylvania analysed the news stories from the New York Times that readers emailed on to others. They were surprised to find that, rather than sex and sensation, people tended to send on articles that inspired them or instilled a sense of awe, hence a higher proportion of science articles than they might have expected. They have interpreted readers' behaviour as aiming to establish 'emotional communion' with others rather than basic utility.

Of course what people choose to send to others may not fully represent what they are reading. It would have been great if Berger and Milkman could have tracked both.

Thinking of the links and articles I have shared recently, I wonder about my motives...

[via John Naughton]

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