People often share their experiences with others who were not originally present, which provides them with both personal and interpersonal benefits. However, most prior work on this form of sharing has examined the decision to share one's experience only after the experience is over. We investigate a distinct, unexplored aspect of the sharing process: when the decision to share is already salient during an experience and hence can impact the experience itself. We examine this research question within the context of photo-taking, an increasingly ubiquitous and integral part of people's experiences. Across two field and three laboratory studies, we find that relative to taking pictures for oneself (e.g., to preserve one's memories), taking pictures with the intention to share them with others (e.g., to post on social media) reduces enjoyment of experiences. This effect occurs because taking photos with the intention to share increases self-presentational concern during the experience, which can reduce enjoyment directly, as well as indirectly by lowering engagement with the experience. We identify several factors that moderate the effect of photo-taking goals on enjoyment, such as individual differences in the extent to which individuals care about how others perceive them and the closeness of the intended audience.
Barasch, A., Zauberman, G., & Diehl, K. (2018). How the intention to share can undermine enjoyment: Photo-taking goals and evaluation of experiences. Journal of Consumer Research, 44(6), 1220–1237. https://doi.org/10.1093/jcr/ucx112