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Same box, different results

I’ve been using Google+ for a few months now. The most striking difference has been the type of content I see posted in contrast to Facebook.

Most Facebook posts I read are about the poster and their personal life. They’re also very short, usually only a few sentences.

Google+ posts seem to rarely be about whoever’s posting, or at least, about their personal life. Instead, I see a lot more posts talking about projects, viewpoints, etc.

What really intrigues me about this is that both sites give you the same tool to post with: a rectangular text box. Here’s two screenshots I just took for this post. What’s different?


Coincidentally, when I took these screen shots, the post beneath each one illustrated exactly the point I was making about the type of posts. One of my friends is having a tough day. The other friend on Google+ is sharing a much longer post by Sergey Brin on the status of the internet.

Or is it coincidence? Are people being influenced what to talk about by the type of material that’s right in front them? We know the human mind is very susceptible to priming, subconsciously influencing a person’s actions and decisions before they’re even thinking about what they want to do.

I’m sure if you compared a bunch of other social media apps and sites, you’d see similar effects. So when you’re wondering about how to get people sharing more on your social app, is it about giving them more photo/video/smell-o-vision features to post with, or priming them to take different actions with the content they’re seeing?