Social media & networking

Stop saying viral

Rachel Botsman posted this via Twitter today, and I suspect it would be of interest to readers here – an excellent examination of “viral” and an argument against using that term (which I wholeheartedly support).

There’s many quotable quotes in the preso, but one that caught my attention:

“When we say something is viral we focus entirely on the content itself and not on the needs of the people that we are asking to spread our ideas” @Faris

To me that cuts to the core of the argument. I often say (and I think I once read it somewhere, though I’ve long since lost the reference) that viral is something that happens, not some attribute we can design into a communication – i.e. you don’t “make a viral”, you create something that “goes viral”. @Faris’ comment sums this up beautifully.

The preso also hints at something Duncan Watts covers in his book 6 Degrees, which is that for something to spread through networks successfully, it needs to cross different community network boundaries.

This is the power of connectors in networks – often we focus our attention on the hubs (i.e. targeting a-list bloggers, or people with large follower counts) but the connectors, the people that enable memes to jump between disparate networks, are key to the spread of ideas.

Links links (28-Jan-2008 to 04-Feb-2008)

  • – Another free stock photo site and community. A potentially useful addition to iStockphoto and Stockexchange.
  • Sprout Builder – “Sprouts” are widgets that you can add to your site and share with others, created from your own media. Although I’ve not looked deeply into them, they seem a handy and quick way to build promotional widgets for your organisation or cause.
  • Is the Tipping Point Toast? – This article has been spreading like wildfire through blogland. A rebuttal, of sorts, to “The Tipping Point” concept where a few “influentials” take trends viral. Thought provoking, and I would say essential reading for anyone in the marketing biz.

(These links were posted to my feed between 28-Jan-2008 and 04-Feb-2008.)