NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- How does it feel?Not when you give or receive a poke. How does it feel when you see others "like" your status update or comment "LOL" to your funny picture? Does it make you want to do it again and receive even more "likes" and comments? A team of researchers recently published their findings in a study asking the question of what it feels like when people share personal information on social media sites like Facebook ( FB), LinkedIn ( LNKD) and Twitter. Here is what they found: Sharing information is pleasurable. (See my
Researchers Diana Tamir and Jason Mitchell of Harvard University's Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Lab conducted a study asking why people are motivated to post personal information on social networks. The researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanning while asking subjects questions. They wanted to know if using social sites like Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and others stimulated parts of the brain. After testing the results of almost 80 people, the researchers found specific regions of our brains become active as a result of revealing personal information. One region of interest is the "pleasure center" believed to focus on reward, pleasure and addiction. The mesolimbic dopamine system "pleasure center" includes the nucleus accumbens and the ventral tegmental areas of the brain.
The attraction to play on Zynga is so rewarding, people spend real money to buy virtual cows and other "things" to use in their fantasy online games. Zynga appears to demonstrate, in part, a real-life "experiment" in the amount people will pay for social success. The question is still up in the air how much value Facebook, Zynga and Linkedin can produce for shareholders. (There is no question about Rick's.) The research appears to support the online social media experience is here to stay. TheStreet's John Hughes and Scott Maragioglio wrote an interesting Real Money Pro article about Facebook and LinkedIn titled