When a person shares content they've discovered online, this means they're establishing their online identity, according to Ricky Van Veen in this Internet identity keynote. The method of how information is distributed online has drastically changed throughout the years; the shift from conventional information distribution to what it is now has propelled people into creating online identities.
New social media has changed the type of content people consume. Before, people would email content they've discovered online, but with social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, people are now more conscientious about what they put out there, because it establishes what type of person they are. It's important to understand why some things are more share-able than others. Through this, people, companies and brands can discover or predict what makes something popular.