What makes an idea viral?

You’ve probably heard of viral marketing by now… it’s the kind of thing that made Hotmail as popular as it is today. It starts with an idea, but ever thought of what makes some ideas more viral than others?

Here are some pointers from Seth Godin, author of the free ebook and paperback entitled “Unleashing the Idea Virus“:

For an idea to spread, it needs to be sent and received.

No one “sends” an idea unless:
a. they understand it
b. they want it to spread
c. they believe that spreading it will enhance their power (reputation, income, friendships) or their peace of mind
d. the effort necessary to send the idea is less than the benefits

No one “gets” an idea unless:
a. the first impression demands further investigation
b. they already understand the foundation ideas necessary to get the new idea
c. they trust or respect the sender enough to invest the time

This explains why online ideas, like some memes, spread so fast but why they’re often shallow. For more, see Seth Godin’s blog