When I first connected my website to my Twitter account, I worried about reposting the same link. That is, when I tweeted, I didn’t necessarily want to be sharing something that I had already sent out. I figured if people had already seen what I had said, they wouldn’t need to see it again, right? Well, that might just not be the case.
Yesterday, I came across a creative answer to a question on Quora that I’m going to share below. A quick lead-in: the question asks about bizarre (and small) social experiments that lead people to the opposite conclusion of their hypothesis. There are some great answers on the question, but this one in particular, applies to sharing content on the web:
We all get countless happy birthday message from acquaintances (veritable strangers) on Facebook.
Out of personal and professional curiosity, I decided to perform an experiment with 2 parameters:
1. I edited my “Facebook” birthday to the current day every day
2. I did this every day until not one person wished me happy birthday
A few people — mostly my closest friends — immediately noticed, but for the few first days, the volume of birthday messages hardly diminished day-to-day.
After a couple of weeks, I started getting a few people who were in on the “joke” wishing me happy birthday every day, along with a handful of “stop it, this isn’t funny” messages.
A few weeks later, a few people just went ahead and un-friended me (on Facebook only … I think). But more interestingly, a couple people who had just recently wished me happy birthday, did so again. And did so very sincerely! They had merely forgotten. More on that in a bit.
A couple months into it, the messages were still coming in (genuinely), but were down to just a couple or a single every day — along with the requisite friend who wished me HB every chance he got.
Finally, after just 103 days, I got no new happy birthday messages.
The span crossed 3 “major” holidays: Christmas, New Years, and Valentine’s Day. My favorite messages were the “I had no idea your birthday was on Christmas!” types from pretty close friends.
The “wasn’t it just your birthday? Oh well, hope it’s a good one!” types were fun as well.
What to take away from this? I occasionally coach/teach people how to use social tools for marketing/whatever and one important lesson is that not everyone sees every message every day, so you shouldn’t be afraid of posting duplicate content, especially if it’s an important message or one that resonates well with a big audience.
And when people occasionally express concern over that concept, I tell this story 🙂
Of course, this is just one small social experiment, but it is certainly something to keep in mind when you think twice about sharing that blog post on social media more than once.