Why is it that a sure shot way of spreading information by word of mouth is telling a bunch of people something and asking them not to pass it on? Why is it that bad news always travels faster than good news? It is amazing the way in which information on an office affair or someone getting a divorce is more spoken about than, let’s say, a promotion or an engagement. We get a vicarious sense of pleasure in knowing something and immediately telling it to others. Makes you wonder why?
The secret of this is there is an inherent quality of “wanting to talk about” certain things like rumors and gossip. This idea is known as the meme (pronounced /mi?m/ – like theme). This is the basis of viral marketing.
Richard Dawkins defined meme as a “unit of cultural inheritance”. These are ideas that spread from person to person, ideas like jokes, fashion trends, urban legends, folk sayings and of course gossip.
As we are all becoming more addicted to the web and spending more time on e-mails, research, chat rooms, downloads, uploads, and tweeters, we have discovered that the web can be our soul partner to express what we want and when we want it. The best part is that so many people are “listening” and respond immediately! The fact remains that people we have told the information to, are sharing it with their own network of friends and peers. The feel good factor on receiving a response is the second trigger, which sets us off on searching and creating new information which we wish to share with the world.
More on viral marketing in the coming days… but in the meantime please feel free to forward this on to anyone who may find it interesting!