Now I know why they call it “viral marketing”; – because it’s just like a virus, epidemiologically.
Let’s compare the Chicken Pox to …how about LumberJocks?
Obviously LumberJocks has done very well for itself, with over 17,000 members in about 4 years. Doing the math, that averages out to be about 11 new members a day! But WHY has it grown?
Because LumberJocks is like Chicken Pox, from an epidemiological (how it spreads) point of view.
Let’s peek behind the curtain….
Chicken Pox is a transmittable disease; you can catch it through an airborne virus – if someone with chicken pox near you sneezes and you happen to breathe it in, you could very well get it too (assuming you haven’t already had it). You are susceptible to it -able to be harmed by it.
Likewise, if you are someone interested in woodworking, you are susceptible to the LJ website. If you’re a woman in her 80s, probably not so much.
Next, comes exposure. If your whole family has chicken pox (or even the common cold), you know how likely you are to get it! Likewise, if a few of your buddies from the local woodworking group you belong to mention the LJ site, you are exposed to it as well.
Now the infection. Because you’re whole family has chicken pox, now you’ve contracted it as well. In like fashion, since your buddies were talking about LJs, you also joined.
You are now infectious – you could spread the chicken pox to your neighbors. You could also tell your friends in another woodworking group about LJs, and the cycle starts all over again.
This is the essence of something on the internet “going viral”. Think about those popular videos someone emailed you – and probably several other friends as well. If you’re like me, you passed it along to several other friends too – again, an example of viral marketing.
There is actually a coefficient that must be met for something to go viral. That is, a certain number of people that must be told for the “virus” to continue. If it doesn’t meet that number, the site stops or slows growing. The higher the number, the higher the acceleration rate of growth, to a point of full saturation – in which everyone pretty much is aware of it – like YouTube or Google. When you reach that point, you don’t need anymore people coming in, because in all likelihood, you’re not going to be knocked off the top of the mountain anyway. Who could beat YouTube at hosting videos – in terms of numbers?
Kinda interesting, huh? :)
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