The Complete “WindKiller and the Drunken Pirate” Arc

Note: this post is from Jun ’07. We’re reposting because J references it in Reading Virtual Minds Volume II: Experience and Expectation.

WindKiller and the Drunken Pirate

WindKiller, one of my regular correspondents and readers, sent me a response to Drunken Pirates, Anyone? or "Interlife Realities 101". I called him up and talked with him about it, asking if I could use his response as a blog post. He agreed, so here we go…

As I did with my Conversations with the Past arc, WindKiller's comments will be in regular type, my responses will be in italics.

Howdy,
Read the posting of the drunken pirate teacher and I wholly disagree with you (and I know you were aching to learn my position on the matter).

I am, truth be told. I'm always fascinated by my readers' responses to my writings.

And I think you have more to say on the matter. You had 15 posts that dealt with what a person is saying about themselves when they sign their name and address, based on font size and shape. What does a person say about themselves when they post their own picture to the world with the appropriate caption "Drunken Pirate"?

Yes, and I used my own signature as the example there. The question "What does a person say about themselves when they post their own picture to the world with the appropriate caption 'Drunken Pirate'?" is too large a question to answer in this format, I think (unless people want to read a what might become a very long arc). Answering that question with any measure of validity requires sociology, social psychology, cultural anthropology, … It's an answerable question that could easily turn into a thesis or term-long class if it is to be answered with any hope of accuracy.

It at least suggests that this is how the person wants to be viewed (her interpretation of the picture may be someone who is fun and sociable and others may be someone who is of low moral character).

You touch on a core element in this discussion; how Ms. Snyder wants to be viewed versus how she and others are interpreting what they're viewing. My Drunken Pirates, Anyone? or "Interlife Realities 101" posting dealt more with how people are interpreting what they're viewing and how that interpretation will (probably) change over time.

Further, I believe myspace allows you to make your photos viewable by 'friends' only or by the public, and she chose the latter.

I don't know if MySpace allows this type of separation. If it does and if Ms. Snyder knew this and if she chose the latter, my question becomes "What did she hope to gain?"

(more to follow…)

WindKiller and the Drunken Pirate, Part 2

WindKiller, one of my regular correspondents and readers, sent me a response to Drunken Pirates, Anyone? or “Interlife Realities 101”. He’s agreed to let me respond in my blog, and this is part 2 of that resposne.

WindKiller called me to task for not responding to Ms. Snyder’s act in part 1, I think.

As I did with my Conversations with the Past arc, WindKiller’s comments will be in regular type, my responses will be in italics. Here we continue with WindKiller’s thoughts:

If I stood up in a restaurant tomorrow and proclaimed to those present that I contracted herpes from a 17-year old prostitute I hired last week, you better believe I’d be judged by everyone in earshot (despite the lack of veracity to the statement). There would be angrily looks, hostile comments, and I suspect most would make every effort to avoid me in the future when the opportunity presented itself. If I don’t want to face that judgment, all I have to do is not publish to that audience a statement that could result in harsh judgment.

My previous statement holds, “What do you hope to gain?” Peoples motivations are usually complex, rarely simple even when subtle. The response you’d get depends heavily on the restaurant you’re in, the patrons of that restaurant, how you made your proclimation. I don’t necessarily agree that the response you state is necessarily the response you’d get.

One of my teachers use to tell his class, “The meaning of the message is the response it elicits” and I was never comfortable with that because communication is almost never pure. Much later I studied deeper and learned “The meaning of the message is” because there are six degrees of separation (I know that seems like a pun or joke and it isn’t) between what someone conceptualizes as what they’re communicating and what another person conceptualizes as what was communicated.

I also admit a prejudice that shows up in NextStage’s Principles. People will form opinions regardless of information presented which supports or negates that opinion. It’s uncontrollable, so don’t concern yourself with other people’s opinions. Certain people, yes, of course. But all people? Those who don’t know you and form an opinion about you based on one item reported to them (hence a bias is added) and not directly observed by them?

It’s not worth your time.

That offered, I also should point out that one of NextStage’s principles, #6, is Take responsibility for your actions.. Of course, it’s closely followed by #7, Mistakes are just that; You can reach again.

(more to follow…)

WindKiller and the Drunken Pirate, Part 3

This is part 3 in a conversation arc. I’m responding to WindKiller, one of my regular correspondents and readers, who wrote me about my Drunken Pirates, Anyone? or “Interlife Realities 101” post. He’s agreed to let me respond in my blog, hence this arc.

WindKiller called me to task for not responding to the Ms. Snyder’s act in part 1, I think. Part 2 dealt with concern over people’s impressions of what you do, think or say.

As I did with my Conversations with the Past arc, WindKiller’s comments will be in regular type, my responses will be in italics. Here we continue with WindKiller’s thoughts:

And I love the freedom of speech angle. No one is restricting her right to publish her pictures, captions, statements, etc. But they will judge her based on her comments and that ability to judge has never been in conflict with the freedom of speech.

Two points:

  1. I disagree with "No one is restricting her right…" Someone has decided to punish her for her actions, therefore they are restricting her rights. The authority figure is saying "I won't tell you not to do some thing and if you do that thing I will penalize you." This is similar to the parent telling the child "It's your decision" then punishing the child for making a decision the parent doesn't like. This is called "crazy-making behavior" among therapists.
    Along these lines, I did read the school district's statement (thanks for the link). The word "advised" is used as in "…after being repeatedly advised…", "expressed" as in "…expressed to Ms. Snyder…" and things like that concern me. What I'd like to see is something like "We told her not to …" or "Ms. Snyder was told not to…". The bullet points in the statement indicate that Ms. Snyder wasn't as responsible a person as the environment she found herself in would dictate, so something stronger than advising and expressing would seem necessary.
    And yes, that was a careful choice of words, "…the environment she found herself in…". It's right up there with another one of NextStage's Principles: If you can't clearly say "No" then nobody will know when you're saying "Yes". Ms. Snyder (this is how I'm reading the material presented) wasn't capable of understanding the more sophisticated communicatives "advised" and "expressed" so make it real simple and plain old "tell" her.
  2. "…they will judge her…" I guess I spent too many years studying the Old Testament not to get concerned when someone "judges" someone else. I know it happens and wish it would happen less and less. "Judging" (in the sense that I think you write it) comes down to a question or "rightness" and "wrongness", which are questions of morality. I'm not qualified to determine someone else's morality, only whether or not I wish to be around their morality. I've often stated "Morals are how you want me to behave, ethics are how I want me to behave."

That offered, I don't think my original post defended or exonerated Ms. Snyder. My goal was to recognize that what happened makes news now and won't later. She'll go down in the history book as an internet pilgrim more than anything else, I think, and one of the requirements of being a pilgrim is ignoring if not violating accepted norms and rules. In the parlance of business, this is known as redefining best practices.

(more to follow…)

WindKiller and the Drunken Pirate, Finale

This post ends a conversation with WindKiller, one of my regular correspondents and readers, who wrote me about my Drunken Pirates, Anyone? or “Interlife Realities 101” post. He’s agreed to let me respond in my blog, hence this arc.

WindKiller called me to task for not responding to the Ms. Snyder’s act in part 1, I think. Part 2 dealt with concern over people’s impressions of what you do, think or say, and Part 3 concerned itself with some issues about communicating with people who aren’t capable of understanding the communication.

As I did with my Conversations with the Past arc, WindKiller’s comments will be in regular type, my responses will be in italics.

WindKiller continues:
I support the Ms. Snyder’s right to publish her photo and caption on myspace and I support her school’s right to judge her moral/ethical/professional aptitude for teacher certification based on her admissions/publications.

“Professional” I might go along with. “Moral/ethical”, as noted in yesterday’s post.

In particular, considering Ms. Snyder was teaching at a local high school as part of her degree requirement and encouraged her students to go to her myspace site. School authorities became aware of this, investigated the myspace site, and asked Ms. Snyder to stop advertising her myspace site or, in the alternative, to remove material they considered unprofessional for a teacher (particularly considering the problem many high schools have with underage drinking).

Again, “asked”. Part of the school’s obligation to Ms. Snyder was to train her in being professional, me thinks. I would have “told” her that what she was doing was going to work against her. I would have “told” her along the lines of “You won’t get a degree and you will have no future in education unless you …”. Also there’s the confused “level of intimacy” thing that is pervading the internet these days, as mentioned in More Thoughts on Blogging. Did Ms. Snyder act inappropriately? As stated previously, “…as the environment she found herself in would dictate…”. It’s for that environment to judge. Do I think Ms. Snyder is a heretic? In that environment, so it seems. I also believe in the adage “Crucify the heretic then accept the heresies.”

She refused on all accounts. Here is a statement from the school district where she taught: http://www.cvsd.k12.pa.us/DS/tempNews/snyderLawsuit05_07.pdf. If the student teaching is part of her degree, and she acted this unprofessionally, then she did not satisfy her degree requirements.

To me (emphasize, “to me”) she did not satisfy her degree requirements is a) she was capable of satisfying them in the first pace and b) assuming “a” that warnings were communicated to her in a way she was capable of internalizing and acting upon.

To me (again, “to me”) “a” and “b” are in question.

As a parent, I know I cannot keep these influences away from my kids, but I’d like to think the schools will keep these influences out of positions of authority.

Good thought. What tests do you suggest schools apply to those they’d place in authority?

The problem here is that the masses have been handed the keys to the fourth estate without so much as enrolling in a driver’s ed class and so accidents are to be expected. In this case, the lesson to be learned is to be aware of your whole audience. Or, if you don’t want to be treated like a drunken pirate, don’t tell people you are a drunken pirate.

LOL. Agreed and nicely put regarding your last statement. What I especially like, though, is embodied in your second statement; once again it comes down to understanding the target and intended audience.
Windkiller

Take note, I am developing a signature based on information I found on the Internet (although Outlook is giving me trouble hyperlinking cleanly to my name or the firm name).

as a further note, when WindKiller and I talked on the phone I made some suggestions for his signature.


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So I declared a Bankruptcy…or was it Voluntary Simplification applied to the ‘Net?

I wrote a four part arc on Email Bankruptcy based on something Sweetness sent me a while back. The basis of the arc stemmed from the growing number of people who are shutting off or deleting all unanswered emails and starting over. Some aren’t even starting over.

In a way, this is another form of a movement called “Voluntary Simplification”. Susan and I have been doing voluntary simplification in preparation for our move to Nova Scotia for years. It didn’t start as something for our move, it started as “You know, we’ve never used that. Why are we keeping it?” so we either gave things away or yardsaled them.

We also didn’t know what we were doing had a name. We simply thought we were getting rid of books we knew we’d never read again, music we’d never listen to again, videos we’d never play again, tools we’d never use again, computers which were fine for nephews and nieces but not useful in the office, … We were watching TV less and less so we gave our bigscreen TV to my nephew. Just in time for the SuperBowl a few years back. He was thrilled.

We found Voluntary Simplification addictive. Over a year we cleaned out two rooms. That’s when it extended into our move to Nova Scotia. Now the battlecry was “Do we really want to move that?” Gas prices played a part in the discussion. “It will cost us more to move it than to buy a new one once we’re there.”

People who know me know I’m notoriously slow responding to emails. I tend to bury myself in my research and ignore emails except when I surface. People may not hear from me for weeks then get ten emails in a day, followed by another period of silence. I tell people, “Call me if you need me. I can get to a phone more often than I can get to my emails.”

But I also have this philosophy; if people take the time to write me then they deserve a response. My challenge wasn’t wanting to declare email bankruptcy so much as it was applying Voluntary Simplification to everything else going on.

So I looked at my blog reader. I do read lots of blogs. I had over 115,000 unread entries.

<Select All><Delete>

My goodness! The freedom. The weight gone! And much like the things we got rid of because we knew we were never going to use them again, I could honestly look at the empty blog lists and say, “I never read those and things I need to know will probably find their way to me when I need them” (kismet’s my friend).

I became giddy. This power. Where did it come from?

I turned my attention to my message board lists.

<Select All><Delete>

This one, I’ll admit, was easier. People on those lists who want to ask me a question do either email me directly or call me. Still…I felt my knees go weak, my vision blurred…okay, that was because my glasses slipped off my nose.

But still!

I could actually do more reading (journals). I could finalize more research. Do more writing up of findings and results. Plan more research.

I could go on the backporch and think. Focus. The best part was that I could actually answer some emails. Quickly (for me). People called to ask if I was okay (I am, although I sounded a bit like Renfield when he was discovered in the hold of the ship in the classic movie versions of Dracula).

In a way, this plays into that arc on attention.

So go for it, friends. Volunteer yourself for a simple internet bankruptcy. I doubt you’ll miss a thing.


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Community Response Grids, Another Example

While I’m not sure of the day this will get published, I know that is a pleasant Sunday afternoon as I write this. Further, and yes, I’m sitting on my back porch reading, one of my key relaxations.

A while back I wrote about Community Response Grids in Nothing New Under the Sun: Community Response Grids than I find an example of one also from Science.

A Colorado based climatologist, Nolan Doesken, created CoCoRaHS (Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network, a community response grid (CRG) after his hometown experienced a flash flood. What he created isn’t called a CRG as such and I’m at a loss to see how it isn’t one.

In any case, NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration honored him for his efforts. CoCoRaHS now has 4,000 volunteers in 18 states, a very impressive example of how The Village can form to solve a problem and do it well. As the Science note says, “People are thrilled to help scientists when you make it easy for them to do that.”

Amen.


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Nothing New Under the Sun: Community Response Grids

First and before I forget, my thanks to all the readers who contacted me about my family’s loss. The donations to our local humane society were statements from The Village far beyond what we anticipated.

I’m still catching up on my readings and still culling things from Science, this time about Community Response Grids in PUBLIC HEALTH: 911.gov

This material fascinates me because it is yet another example of The Village and an outstanding one. Registered community members would be able to upload information to a specific community based website for the sole purpose of getting immediate response and relief to other people in that same community. This is an idea whose time has come and, in its way, is nothing new under the sun.

Where I live in Nashua, NH, we’ve experienced two 100 year watermarks in less than eleven months. Thank goodness they stopped calling it “Global Climate Change”. The community rallied and neighbors sandbagged each others’ homes as the waters rose. We didn’t spend much time looking at the computers, of course, because we were too busy saving property.

Back in Scotsburn, NS, and once when we were visiting there, a police car went up Campbell Hill Rd. We were with some friends at the top of the hill and could see the RCMP’s progress. The car, lights flashing and making good time, hadn’t made it a third of the way up the road when the phone rang. It was a neighbor from down the bottom of the hill wanting to know if everybody was okay.

They saw the RCMP booking, saw that it hadn’t stopped, and so the phone calls were progressing up the hill to see who needed help. It wasn’t us, so we said we’d call the next few houses down the other side of the hill.

The RCMP passed us and went down the other side of the hill. Sure enough, a neighbor had had a heart attack. Before the ambulance came, before the 2nd RCMP car could respond, plans had been made. These folks would get this neighbor’s kids at school. Another family would make sure the cows were milked and taken care of. Two other families would start cooking so this neighbor’s family would be sure to eat.

Community Response Grids aren’t anything new, only their implementation in The Village. It’s a good thing, I think, and I’d be interested in hearing from readers regarding them. There is some research aspects involved, yes. CRGs are forms of social networking and hence an area of fascination for me and NextStage. Your thoughts, anyone?


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The Complete “AllBusiness.com’s Chris Bjorklund interviews viral marketing expert Joseph Carrabis, founder of NextStage Evolution” Arc

Note: This single post was originally an 18 post arc. Good information that we compiled for the new BizMediaScience by accident. What can we tell you. J’s written a lot. We mean a lot and we’ve been compiling posts for the new blog for a few weeks now. Our eyes are getting bleary. Somebody save us.

Meanwhile, enjoy this post.

AllBusiness.com’s Chris Bjorklund interviews viral marketing expert Joseph Carrabis, founder of NextStage Evolution, Part 1

I wrote a while back about “3 Rules for Creating Buzz” now on IMediaConnection. Recently I was interviewed by AllBusiness.com’s Chris Bjorkland on The Importance of Viral Marketing.

This arc will provide a text version of that exchange. I’ll warn you ahead of time that my notes are incomplete. There was a lot more in the podcast than appears in this arc, save a few last questions we didn’t have time for. Each post in this arc will have one question (regular type) followed by my response (italics).


You’ve been doing some cutting edge research on word of mouth marketing, also known as viral marketing. Many people aren’t quite sure what viral marketing is…..can you us give a clear working definition?

A “clear working” definition? Hmm. Marketing that by its very nature is “infectious”, meaning people pass the marketing message on voluntarily, ie, without realizing they’re doing so. Like a pathogenic (biological) virus, viral marketing is something that must be transmitted when several factors – audience, message, etc. – are aligned.

AllBusiness.com’s Chris Bjorklund interviews viral marketing expert Joseph Carrabis, founder of NextStage Evolution, Part 2

Who invented the term?

Excellent question. I think you can find a book, Media Virus, that used the term.

I’m not sure when I first heard it. I believe it came out of the concept of memetics, something NextStage does lots of research into and upon which elements of our technology are based. “Thought Contagion”, by Aaron Lynch did a good job of defining and explaining the concept in 1996. Remember also that “viral marketing” is just another term for “word of mouth” and that’s been around and understood since god knows when.

AllBusiness.com’s Chris Bjorklund interviews viral marketing expert Joseph Carrabis, founder of NextStage Evolution, Part 3

Some information spreads like wildfire on the Web – let’s say a funny YouTube bit…..why do some messages take off and others don’t? What does your research tell us about that?

Viral campaigns are SOOO audience dependent and, unlike their biologic cousins, viral marketers haven’t had enough time evolving what they do to be custom designed for a specific market. Viral marketers (in my opinion) really need to study the behaviors of their biologic cousins to understand what they need to do in order to succeed.

For example, a successful biologic virus demands several factors be aligned in order to be successful, and often those factors are competing with each other based on the audience they “infect” (ie, who gets and transmits the message). For one, a successful viral message needs to be extremely generally accessible while carrying a highly specific message.

In other words, the most successful viral campaigns will be those that are picked up and transmitted by the largest audience possible even though the number of people who end up coughing (ie, “get” the campaign message and respond favorably to it) are only a small subset of that transmitting population.

This concept is already recognized in online marketing. You may have visitor traffic of several hundred thousand people yet are only converting 1-2%, Congratulations! Your website is actually a minimally successful viral campaign. This is another element; you don’t want to consume your audience too quickly otherwise there’s nobody to transmit the message for you and nobody left to act upon the viral message.

AllBusiness.com’s Chris Bjorklund interviews viral marketing expert Joseph Carrabis, founder of NextStage Evolution, Part 3a

Some information spreads like wildfire on the Web – let’s say a funny YouTube bit…..why do some messages take off and others don’t? What does your research tell us about that?

… For one, a successful viral message needs to be extremely generally accessible while carrying a highly specific message.

In other words, the most successful viral campaigns will be those that are picked up and transmitted by the largest audience possible even though the number of people who end up coughing (ie, “get” the campaign message and respond favorably to it) are only a small subset of that transmitting population.

This concept is already recognized in online marketing. You may have visitor traffic of several hundred thousand people yet are only converting 1-2%, Congratulations! Your website is actually a minimally successful viral campaign. This is another element; you don’t want to consume your audience too quickly otherwise there’s nobody to transmit the message for you and nobody left to act upon the viral message.

AllBusiness.com’s Chris Bjorklund interviews viral marketing expert Joseph Carrabis, founder of NextStage Evolution, Part 4

Can you give a few notable examples of a virally powerful message that you’ve seen or heard?

The Chris Bliss video was one that came to us right when we were in the middle of doing viral research and it’s a killer. The Toyota Scion viral campaign (as documented by Theresa Quantinilla’s QViews blog was also a good one because it was highly focused for a specific audience, understood how transmission in that audience would and did occur, understood the social dynamics and migrations of that audience, …

AllBusiness.com’s Chris Bjorklund interviews viral marketing expert Joseph Carrabis, founder of NextStage Evolution, Part 4a

You’ll need to see Thong Ad 1 and Thong Ad 2 to understand what follows.Not just these two ads but the entire sequence and the responses to it are phenomenal examples of how subjective WOM is. I’ve written about the concepts of “Towards” and “AwayFrom” in marketing (see Using Sound and Music on Websites), how certain people psychologically move “towards” a brand, a goal, an offering, whatever, and others psychologically move “away from” these things. WOM is a better demonstration of how closely these two psychologies are than anywhere else, and especially as they manifest on the web because the web is still a solitary experience.

We’re still a culture that defines itself by its bonds, by its tribal and group identities within the greater populaton. Marketers know this as demographics but the people inside those demographics know it as “we’re all Harvard grads” or “I’m a Southern California kind of guy” or “You need to be a workaholic to get ahead here”. There are few people who don’t think of themselves as some element or part of a larger group. These groups can be ethnic, religious, educational, age, gender, or product.

AllBusiness.com’s Chris Bjorklund interviews viral marketing expert Joseph Carrabis, founder of NextStage Evolution, Part 4b

The problem is that when you’re sitting at your computer you’re usually isolated (you’re in a cube, your room, sitting at a desk with privacy panels in place, …). You’re not getting the cultural cues from your group or tribe that help you decide how to respond so you respond, basically, with what’s inside you at the moment. This is something I document in my book, Reading Virtual Minds Volume I: Science and History.

One of the trends I hope to see – and something required, I think, if true social networks are to take place on the web – is real-time interactions between group members. This is happening with chat and it needs to go further so that the bifurcation doesn’t occur. This is something else I discussed before when I wrote about Holmes&Watsons – finding the true information sources, trendsetters, the individuals who let the group know what to decide about something before the group decides.

AllBusiness.com’s Chris Bjorklund interviews viral marketing expert Joseph Carrabis, founder of NextStage Evolution, Part 5

What are some of the key factors I need to look at if I’m going to be launching let’s say a new magazine to working women in their 40s and I want to create a “buzz”?

My first suggestion would be that you’re already thinking too large a market for buzz to occur in the near time. That’s an excellent market to go after and I think you need to think long term in getting that large a market to pay attention to your magazine.

What I’d suggest as an alternative is to find 2-3 “influencer” groups within that larger audience. Choose these groups based on three basic criteria and a big #4:

  1. You know an incredible amount about them as a group (not just demongraphic but also cognitive, behavioral/effective and motivational factors).
  2. You have high confidence you’ll be able to positively affect them.
  3. You can afford to market to them.
  4. But the big #4 is “They are influencers within the greater community.”

Examples of influencers within the greater community would be role-models, successful women within a sub-group, say Hispanic women with good six-figure incomes. Here you have a 2fer, these women will influence Hispanic women and women in specific career tracks. Another example of influencers would be women who’ve been successful in a highly competitive and up-and-coming field such as engineering or biosciences.

AllBusiness.com’s Chris Bjorklund interviews viral marketing expert Joseph Carrabis, founder of NextStage Evolution, Part 5a

The goal is to get their buy-in then use them to create buzz within their social networks. This buzz can then be used in other marketing efforts to plant seeds that become buzz in other groups within the greater demographic. Eventually, perhaps 1-2 years or sooner depending on several factors, you completely own your market.

Most people doing WOM fall down in these areas:

  • not knowing how to isolate subgroups within their target group,
  • financing a good buzz campaign,
  • not giving the campaign the time it needs to grow.

I read recently (and can’t remember where) about a viral campaign that failed after a few months so the company pulled all its efforts. To me that was an unwise move and the commentator wrote pretty much the same. I know of a large firm that’s about to start a viral campaign in order to do some damage control. I’m worried about what might happen because they’re thinking they can send out a few press releases, get interviewed a few times in the press and they’ll be good. I don’t know the details of their plan, I just know that what I heard makes me nervous about its success.

AllBusiness.com’s Chris Bjorklund interviews viral marketing expert Joseph Carrabis, founder of NextStage Evolution, Part 6

Some viral messages keep re-appearing and become annoying. What are some ways you can control how long a message is out there? How can the message get distorted?

How long should a message be out there? Until either the market is saturated or until the audience is immune to the effects of the message. There are ways to calculate how long both will take and the best strategy is, as the comics say, to leave them wanting more.

Both market saturation and audience immunity basically mean there’s no longer anybody out there to carry your message forward. Not a good situation. Market saturation occurs when a single product or service has so penetrated the target audience that there’s nobody left interested in it. This is where product upgrades, new features, etc., play a role in keeping the message alive.

Audience Immunity is, I think, worse because you still have plenty of product or service but nobody cares about what you’re offering. You can always upgrade, modify, or cut the price of a product or service and get back into the market. But if people don’t care about your offering – and I’m not saying anything about its merits – then your sunk and your warehouses or infrastructure are full.

AllBusiness.com’s Chris Bjorklund interviews viral marketing expert Joseph Carrabis, founder of NextStage Evolution, Part 6b

Here’s the big money take away for your listeners regarding this: Think of products or services which had no social contagion or impact factor – ie, didn’t allow this individual to share something with that individual – and you’re looking at things which the audience quickly became immune to.

Anybody remember the Newton? How many people are reading from eBooks? [[Note that this was back in 2007. People couldn’t yet read on tablets or mobiles and needed dedicated, often clunky and inelegant readers to read ebooks. It was the device — iPad, iPhone, mobile, Nook, Tablet, … — that made ebooks popular.]] Part of the success of the iPod is the same as the success of BMWs. The product brands the owner – hence you’re automatically sharing the iPod or BMW experience with other brand owners – simply by listening to your iPod on the train as you commute to work or walk down the street.

PCs didn’t catch on because VisiCalc came out. PCs caught on because I could do something with VisiCalc then share it with others, “Hey, Look at this! Did you know we can increase our…decrease our…reinvest our…”

If you want to invest in something, look for products that will have a social contagion or impact factor. Is anybody who invested in cellular technology crying these days?

AllBusiness.com’s Chris Bjorklund interviews viral marketing expert Joseph Carrabis, founder of NextStage Evolution, Part 6c

Print allows the individual immediacy but not necessarily the group.

But on the web? I can email you, I can even call you. Now let’s put both those elements together with what are called “smart mobs”, where people are using cellphones to virally spread messages, instructions, whatever, to each other. The challenge there is the size of the individual’s social network. This is why so many cell phone service providers give you a perk for getting everyone you know into your network hence onto their system. They’re kind of rewarding you for being a social butterfly.

The reason I say “butterfly” is because we know from anthropology studies that the largest group any one individual can have significant social contact with is about 65-70 people, about the size of a tribal village (we may evolve rapidly as a technological society but we’re not evolving rapidly as social creatures). Once groups get larger subgroups tend to emerge.

This isn’t a good or bad thing, merely a thing. For example, a small high school or college’s graduating class may have 35-50 people in it and each student knows all the other graduating students on a first name basis, probably has had direct interaction with them at some point in time.

AllBusiness.com’s Chris Bjorklund interviews viral marketing expert Joseph Carrabis, founder of NextStage Evolution, Part 6d

For example, a small high school or college’s graduating class may have 35-50 people in it and each student knows all the other graduating students on a first name basis, probably has had direct interaction with them at some point in time.

Now expand the graduating class to 50-70 people and, okay, you may know all their first names but you have to think a bit before you can state their name for sure. You might have worked with them on a project but you didn’t talk much after that project was finished except the friendly, polite hello as you passed in the hallway.

Now make the graduating class 75-100 students and the college or high school starts to recognize unique areas of scholarship or participation. This shows up in club pictures, “Most likely to…” photos and such.

I’m on a business social networking site and see some people with over 500 connections. Impressive and I know immediately that many of the people in such a network are purely business contacts, which is fine, except that at the end of the day business (especially at the higher levels) is personal, sales is definitely personal, and buzz marketing, viral marketing, WOM, etc., is totally personal.

This goes back to finding the right influencers for your product, service or market.

AllBusiness.com’s Chris Bjorklund interviews viral marketing expert Joseph Carrabis, founder of NextStage Evolution, Part 7

What should I be thinking about first if I am trying to reach as many people as possible in the least amount of time? What are some of the rules of “buzz” for that?

Good Question. This is something I touched on in my IMedia column, 3 Rules for Creating Buzz. One of the questions our research answered was exactly this; How to reach the most people in the least amount of time?

It turns out you want to seed your message with a fairly non-traveling audience, what we call a “static” audience. This is one of those things that is obvious after the fact; static people tend to have larger social networks and higher quality affiliations within those networks.

This goes back to social network sites where someone has 500 or more connections or the graduating class example. Consider that each individual in social network A is also a member of social network B; the graduating student also works at the mall. This one person will pick up a message in A, the message will strongly penetrate social network A, meanwhile the same person is busily spreading the message in social network B. Then there’s someone in social network B who’s also a member of social network C.

This is “I’ll tell two friends and they’ll tell two friends and so on and so on.” Person in social network A will have a larger network of quality affiliations, meaning they are paid attention to within their network.

Now consider the person who’s constantly traveling, who is non-static. Yes, they may be in touch with 500 people but these are people they see at a meeting, pass in the airport, talk to in the bar of the hotel. In reality their network is neither very large nor very affiliated. They interact with a lot of people but, unless they’re a Holmes (and chances are they won’t be if they’re in the 500+ connections category), not everyone in that network is impacted by what this individual does or says.

AllBusiness.com’s Chris Bjorklund interviews viral marketing expert Joseph Carrabis, founder of NextStage Evolution, Part 8

In your article on 3 Rules for Creating Buzz — you mention the 3 Touch Rule. Could you explain it and its effect on how messages are carried on?”

Good Question. This is something I touched on in my IMedia column, 3 Rules for Creating Buzz. One of the questions our research answered was exactly this; How to reach the most people in the least amount of time?

It turns out you want to seed your message with a fairly non-traveling audience, what we call a “static” audience. This is one of those things that is obvious after the fact; static people tend to have larger social networks and higher quality affiliations within those networks.

This goes back to social network sites where someone has 500 or more connections or the graduating class example. Consider that each individual in social network A is also a member of social network B; the graduating student also works at the mall. This one person will pick up a message in A, the message will strongly penetrate social network A, meanwhile the same person is busily spreading the message in social network B. Then there’s someone in social network B who’s also a member of social network C.

This is “I’ll tell two friends and they’ll tell two friends and so on and so on.” Person in social network A will have a larger network of quality affiliations, meaning they are paid attention to within their network.

Now consider the person who’s constantly traveling, who is non-static. Yes, they may be in touch with 500 people but these are people they see at a meeting, pass in the airport, talk to in the bar of the hotel. In reality their network is neither very large nor very affiliated. They interact with a lot of people but, unless they’re a Holmes (and chances are they won’t be if they’re in the 500+ connections category), not everyone in that network is impacted by what this individual does or says.

AllBusiness.com’s Chris Bjorklund interviews viral marketing expert Joseph Carrabis, founder of NextStage Evolution, Part 9

In your article on 3 Rules for Creating Buzz you mention the 3 Touch Rule. Could you explain it and its effect on how messages are carried on?”

One of the things NextStage researches is how often an individual has to experience a communication before they know they’ve experienced a communication. This is one of the things we demonstrate in our Ad Placement Tool.

It works like this; You see an ad, it makes an impression and is maybe remembered for a day or so but perhaps you remember the ad but not what the ad was promoting. In other words, you’re not branded. Okay, now you see the ad again, maybe a print version or a billboard or you hear a complimentary ad on the radio. Now you’ve been “touched” twice. There’s more of an impression. You’re getting branded but you may not be branded yet.

What we’ve learned is that for items that are not in the “impulse” category, it generally takes three “touches” before the individual is branded, ie, they know that this experience equates to that product.

How many times an individual needs to be touched before they’ll respond and be aware they’re responding is heavily influenced by how the message is shaped, how it is delivered, time between deliveries, time between different packages (methods of delivery), and that doesn’t begin to get into the cognitive, behavioral/effective and motivational factors.

AllBusiness.com’s Chris Bjorklund interviews viral marketing expert Joseph Carrabis, founder of NextStage Evolution, Finale

What’s your best advice to someone who’s planning a viral marketing campaign?

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