December 12, 2008

Viral semanticism: “it ain’t viral til it is”

Kudos to Faris Yakob, BL Ochman and That Canadian Girl for again highlighting why we should all be careful about our use of the term ‘viral’ and why it should be considered a verb.

Faris explains:

“Sometimes I get calls saying this viral isn’t performing very well – what’s the problem? We’ve seeded it to all the right places, it’s on youtube and everything – where’s our traffic? The problem is usually that they’ve made an ad that contains nothing people consider worth showing to their friends.

Unless you would be willing to send whatever it is to your mates – it’s not viral!

But saying something is viral, we focus entirely on the content itself and not on the needs of the people that we are asking to spread ideas.”

However, my favourite quote on this topic comes from Douglas Rushkoff:

“People don’t engage with each other to engage viruses; people
exchange viruses as an excuse to engage with each other.”

Perhaps some of us might be excused for shamefully ElfingOurselves this Xmas.

Posted by Adam