Lunchtime Links: Lessons From Viral Videos

What a misunderstanding about a sign teaches about membership thought patterns. Also: Grasping emotional reactions to web design.

Few things can capture the emotion as effectively as a viral video. A single clip built around a funny moment or a clever idea can go much further than any boring speech or long block of text ever could.

But what can we learn from the good ones? Some lessons from viral videos in today’s Lunchtime Links:

D’oh! Shelly Alcorn, CAE, points out a hilarious video of a woman misunderstanding the purpose of deer-crossing signs, suggesting that government agencies move the signs to lower-trafficked areas on a local radio show. Alcorn, however, finds a lesson on membership: “To this woman it seemed perfectly reasonable to assume the ‘signs’ drove the behavior and if the signs were moved, the deer would follow them,” she writes. “Now, obviously humans (with few exceptions) are not animals. But we often use similar thinking patterns when discussing member behavior that we want to influence or change.”

Speaking of viral videos … Ray van Hilst of Vanguard Technology uses this video of a man going postal on his computer to teach a different kind of lesson about technology. “As web professionals, we must stop and understand he is frustrated for a reason and started using the computer with a level of stress that was already there. The computer just put him over the top,” he writes.

How do you go viral? Now, those videos are hilarious, but what if you’re trying to make one of your products go viral? Maddie Grant of SocialFish points out a series of posts by Rahul Vorha, the CEO of Rapportive, who analyzes some of the science behind the matter, emphasizing that it’s not as easy as it looks. His take? Supplement non-viral marketing to help build out viral growth. “With a great viral factor we can amplify, several times over, the effort we spend acquiring users through non-viral channels,” he explains. “But remember: you can’t amplify something that isn’t there! This is why we should split our growth efforts across both non-viral and viral channels. If we focus on just one, we leave users on the table.”

The reviews are in: Now, here’s a product that’s trying to go viral. We’ve already covered the hype around the Microsoft Surface, but now we have a couple of reviews in, including a piece by Wired‘s Mathew Honan, who says the mixture of old and new software metaphors was a little off-putting. “The old Windows desktop is a very odd interface element on this device,” he writes. “I think Microsoft should have cleanly pulled the band-aid off and ditched the desktop metaphor altogether. Leave that for desktop computers.” The New York Times’ David Pogue thinks the software hurts it, too.

Ever try marketing your ideas or products like viral videos? Let us know how it has worked in the comments.

(via tutufunny4u/YouTube)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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