an example of the viral effect (non-library content)

September 11, 2006, 4:47 pm

My last few posts have been a little moody—let’s lighten it up with some irrelevance.

A few days ago I noticed a facebook group titled “If this group reaches 100,000 my girlfriend will have a threesome.” I laughed it off and then moved on. But then I saw it again, and again. Curious, I checked it out and the group had around 78,000 members. The premise being that his girlfriend agreed to have a threesome if he could get a large enough following. Personally I don’t believe any of it; it’s an obviously ploy for attention—but it worked and fast. The group creator provides this timeline:

  • 9/5/06 , 2:45 PM (EST)- Group created.
  • 9/5/06 , 7:11 PM – 184 members
  • 9/7/06 , 2:19 PM – Wow, 7,000.
  • 9/8/06 , 1:02 AM – 50,000 members.
  • 9/8/06 , 1:27 PM – 83,300 members.
  • 9/8/06 , 4:05 PM – 100,000 members.
  • 9/11/06 , 12:18 AM – 245,175 members.
  • 9/11/05 , 4:52 PM – 300,000 members.

This is a perfect example of the viral effect. The contagiousness of the online environment. The tipping point. It’s also an attempt to create a social phenomenon. Similar to the eBay Wedding Dress Guy . One person tells another, who tells another, and so on and so on. Imagine if library marketing could tap into this process. No, I am not advocating sexual escapades, I can already see the Annoyed One’s! response to that. But finding gimmicks and the right people to pull them off. That’s what I hope to explore over the next year.

And for those interested in the student’s quest for the holy grail, his ‘girlfriend’ next claimed that if he could get 300,000 members, she’s allow pictures to be taken. He currently has 311,481 and will probably raise the stakes to 1 million members for filming rights. Then he’ll probably turn around and sell access to a site to view the footage. Imagine if just 5% of the members paid $5 for access: he’d take in over $250,000. He already has an online shop selling merchandise, so it’s obvious this is more than just fun and games. His strategy plays right into the stereotype of college guys everywhere. The brilliance is his level of interaction. He makes members feel a sense of participation, in fact he’s allegedly putting up a site for members to vote on possible girls to join them. Whether you agree with his methods or not, you have to admire the entrepreneurial spirit.

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