Terrific wisdom from Seth Godin. Replace “an idea” with “a radio station”:
For an idea to spread, it needs to be sent and received. No one “sends” an idea unless: a. they understand it b. they want it to spread c. they believe that spreading it will enhance their power (reputation, income, friendships) or their peace of mind d. the effort necessary to send the idea is less than the benefits No one “gets” an idea unless: a. the first impression demands further investigation b. they already understand the foundation ideas necessary to get the new idea c. they trust or respect the sender enough to invest the time
This explains why online ideas spread so fast but why they’re often shallow. Notice that ideas never spread because they are important to the originator
How many times have you wanted listeners to buzz about your station – without giving them something that THEY want to buzz about? What you want and what they want are two different things.
Notice too that a key dynamic in the spread of the idea is the capsule that contains it. If it’s easy to swallow, tempting and complete, it’s a lot more likely to get a good start. A key element in the spread of ideas is their visual element. iPods and visual styles spread faster in the real world than ephemeral concepts. Pictures and short jokes spread faster online because the investment necessary to figure out if they’re worth spreading is so tiny.