I believe that word of mouth has evolutionary origins. Put simply, the human race benefited from telling family and friends about where the best roots and berries could be found, where the year round waterhole was, or where the best hunting grounds were. In a way, something that goes viral can be seen as digital word of mouth. And thanks to the network effects of the Internet, the power of it is manifold. It can spread to in-numerous people in the blink of an eye, and all across the world. It has been freed from time and space.
Today, we don’t only share vital information about where to find resources, but also information that connects us to others. In a world where we don’t have time to keep up with all our “connections”, the act of passing something on is a very easy way to reconnect. It is a way to show that they are present in our minds. That is why we pass funny clips along, that’s why we update our status on Facebook or Twitter, and that’s maybe even why we press that little “like” button on Facebook. It’s a way to reconnect. It’s an act of recognition. It’s to say “I notice you”.
If you want to learn more about Viral Marketing and Contagiousness I can highly recommend this book.
Kristofer Mencák is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.