Surfing in downtime for entertaining infographics ideas, I came across this analysis of how global pop dance-move phenomena Gangnam Style and Harlem Shake infected the world.
The assessors looked at how the Twitterverse spread the memes.
Their conclusions (8 things we learnt about how stuff spreads in social media) were indeed interesting.
It doesn’t take a genius to see the crossover with penetrating an account. Whether it be for the first-time or over time.
For example, here’s the first of their eight tips;
Bursts and Rises: 2 models of virality.
The Burst model is bottom-up: the variations are more powerful then the original seed and there’s no clear leadership or narrative.
The meme relies on community relevance to spread.
The Rise model is top-down: the original seed is always stronger than its variations and has a clear leader dictating the narrative.
Bursts spread widely more quickly but don’t endure.
Rises spread more slowly and less widely but they tend to endure because the meme has a focal point.
Choose your model of virality and plan accordingly.
Does this suggest that you should only select one of these models?
In sales where several people are involved clientside, the traditionalists will say get in at the top. Go high and stay high to win. That feels like their Rise model. Less about community and more about being lead. As they conclude later on;
A meme needs a focal point to live longer.
Virality is only sustained through a strong narrative and leadership.
So next time you veer towards a comfort-zone creation of a “groundswell” of lower-level opinion, bear in mind that to neglect forging top-down endorsement, however fleeting their impact might be and a ‘balance missed between local and global appeal’, could mean saying goodbye to winning out.