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We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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Cracking the Viral Code

May 12, 2014, 3:55 PM
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Ask any purveyor of content and they will tell you that there is no formula for “going viral.” Scott Galloway, a Clinical Professor of Marketing at NYU Stern School of Business and the founder of the L2 Think Tank, has been studying the viral phenomenon for years.

In the latest installment of Big Think’s Edge, Galloway shares his insights for making content that creates conversations.

Traditional Media vs. New Media

While there are no hard rules, it’s safe to rely on the principle of timing. Stories spread the fastest when they’re tapping into the zeitgeist. Social commentary on the big news stories of the day reliably travel far, according to Galloway. The content must provide surprising insights. He explains: “Where it’s a bit different than what traditional media tends to find popular, something that is raw, authentic, and not produced.”

Tap into Social Controversy

The web is full of conversations—make sure that your content brings something interesting to the discussion. Galloway shares a personal example: an email exchange with a student who didn’t agree with his late policy that led to the student being kicked out of class for not showing up on time. The exchange went viral after Galloway shared it with his class, as an indelible reminder of his late policy. This tapped into the larger discussion of the rising price of education. As he explains in the video below, Galloway added to an important discussion.

There is No Code

Ultimately, there is no code. But by understanding what has gone viral through the case studies Galloway presents in the latest installment of Big Think’s Edge, you can start to develop your sense for tapping into the conversations the world wants.

 

Cracking the Viral Code

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