Dr. Mariann Hardey

Digitally on.

Speaker, Writer, Academic.

Durham University Lecturer.

I do stuff for the BBC.

Feminist & lovely.

Slanguage of social media

real viral explanation

June 2013

This blog post is dedicated to every student I have taught at Undergraduate and Postgraduate levels and has asked '... can I do my research on a brand on Facebok?'

This blog post is also dedicated to every commercial 'operator' [shark] who has asked, '...how can we make this go viral and charge for it?'

This blog post is also dedicated to the bright rising star who pondered today her dilemma regarding the promotion of her movie-advert;

SMOKO AD: Do androids dream of electronic cigarettes? - a fabulous BladeRunner run of image, sound, advert and film.

And reflected 'Trying to work out to make it go viral...'

There's a degree of horror when I hear these turns of phrase.  I also hear Mark Zuckerberg rubbing his $hands together and his Friends in Facebook's Marketing Team chanting 'We can do it! We can do it!' For this is not a social platform anymore, but a viral hotbed.

Terribly sorry here folk, but 'make it go viral', as any good Communications team will tell you there's not 'make' in this game. Instead a carefully crafted coordination of content, targeting, positioning - as in which platforms - and appreciation of the mad and spontaneous, as in smart luck.  Dear Student's, this is why an all too simplisitic observation of a Facebook Fan Page does not a quality dissertation make. You have been warned.

Commercial operator's, this is why your pricing structure around campaign led 'statistics' e.g. page hits, Fan's etc. are misleading at best, unrealistic in the middle, and totally deceptive at worse.

Catching the virus is nothing new, in fact it is AGES old in marketing terms - see WOM and eWOM for literatures on this.  I rather like Craig Grannell's approach, that notes the viral marketing's, 'Increasing subtlety and diversionary tactics - rather than a 'Here's the product, so go and buy it!' For more detail than I can be bothered to repeat here my 'Friends', you should go and read Grannell's Catch on Viral Design (circa 2007, see told you this was 'old').

Finding something totally original, quirky, fun, informative, slightly mad is bewitching.  Once the wisdom of crowds, now viral sets out to superceed, or even leap frog over such wisdom.  Social networking provides the breeding ground for 'making' viral, but rarely is this truly successful.

Old Spice got this right, but this was VERY carefully orchestrated.

So what's the cure? Perhaps this lurvely infographic from Raka will offer some real viral explanation...

How You Just Got The Flu - an Infographic to Help Explain Your Misery

There’s nothing worse than getting the flu in 2013.

- See more at: http://www.rakacreative.com/blog/post/how-do-you-get-the-flu-2013#sthash.xDFNQerd.dpuf

How You Just Got The Flu - an Infographic to Help Explain Your Misery

There’s nothing worse than getting the flu in 2013.

- See more at: http://www.rakacreative.com/blog/post/how-do-you-get-the-flu-2013#sthash.xDFNQerd.dpuf