Guy Kawasaki posted a snippet from Seth Godin‘s new book, “Small is the New Big”:
For an idea to be spread, it needs to be sent and received.
No one sends an idea unless:
They understand it.
They want it to spread.
They believe that spreading it will enhance their power (reputation, income, friendships) or their peace of mind.
The effort to send the idea is less than the benefits.
No one “gets” an idea unless:
The first impression demands further investigation.
They already understand the foundation ideas necessary to get the new idea.
They trust or respect the sender enough to invest the time.
Notice that ideas never spread because they are important to the originator.
Notice, too, that a key element in the spreading of the idea is the capsule that contains it. If it’s easy to swallow, tempting, and complete, it’s far more likely to get a good start. (Signum sine tinnitu)
The idea that “ideas never spread because they are important to the originator” is the part that caught my attention. This seems to be a difficult concept for many companies trying to capitalize on the web 2.0 phenomenon. Companies see how influential viral marketing can be and frequently fail when they try to replicate it. The reality is that you never know if a new video will be the next Lazy Sunday or just another unwatched video taking up disk space. Too many attempts at viral marketing look forced and artificial, while the really interesting examples of viral marketing seem to be the ones that are accidental successes. It is important for companies to participate in web 2.0 whether it is through blogging, encouraging user collaboration, social networking sites, or other methods; however, it may be impossible to predict whether a concept will be spread virally across the Internet.