What makes a message go viral?

The New Scientist has investigated, appropriately enough, by running an experiment. Through their article I stumbled Judith Donath's paper on "Signals in Social Supernets", which has a good explanation of why people are so keen to share things they didn't make themselves. (And that impulse to share is stronger than any fear of the law).

My professional life involves the study of social networks, and speaking from personal experience, I agree with Donath's explanation. Basically, it's about social proof. About demonstrating your position in the information food chain. You're In The Know. The truffle pig. Quality is scarce, but your effort filters and aggregates it. Sharing is, indeed, caring.


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