How Does An Idea Go Viral?

Before hashtags and newsfeeds and even pens, paper and the press, the spread of ideas traces back to the cultural art of storytelling. This deep-seated tradition of sharing knowledge and interpreting experiences has continuously bridged generations. At our core, we are storytelling machines, and our thought process is best navigated through the structure of a story. 


Humans excel at remembering and understanding information if it presented in story form–we hear stories and we connect them to our own experiences, which activates interpersonal, analytical and cognitive cues. It’s the same reason we feel cinema has an especially immersive power–at the movies, stories comes to life before our eyes. 

Storytelling echoes in the digital space today not only in films, trends, or social movements, but also in viral marketing. Unleashing the Ideavirus, an e-book written by marketing author Seth Godin, outlines how interruptive marketing is no longer an efficient approach. The key takeaway about this age is driven by ideas:

“Marketing by interrupting people isn’t cost-effective anymore. You can’t afford to seek out people and send them unwanted marketing messages, in large groups, and hope that some will send you money. Instead, the future belongs to marketers who establish a foundation and process where interested people can market to each other. Ignite consumer networks and then get out of the way and let them talk.”

How does this tie to crowdfunding? With the space becoming more and more saturated, project creators need to set themselves apart from every other project that exists. They need to connect to large groups and do it very quickly. For example, when making a project video, creators should break away from the norm of sitting in front of the camera and asking for cash. Instead, it’s worth making a video that is story-driven. It will have the potential to catch on a lot faster as viewers will connect on a more intuitive, human level. Then it will be shared. Again, again, and again. 

With social media revolutionizing our ability to interact with one another and technology giving us the tools to extend our mind far beyond our thumbs, it’ll become increasing apparent how interpersonal marketing and the ancient ritual of storytelling will continue to drive the spread of ideas in this information age.

Image Source: Critical Thinking

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