04 Jan The Science of Contagion – Why Hotline Bling wasn’t random
When something goes ‘viral’, is it random? Why do we share a photo, video or blog post? There’s fundamental scientific proof that contagion is something that is achieved by hitting the right combination of qualities in an idea. This research, conducted by Jonah Berger, tells us that there are 6 principles that drive all sorts of things to become contagious.
“When we care, we share.” ~Jonah Berger
The 6 principles are:
- Social Currency
- Practical Value
In my opinion however, it’s the emotional impact of an idea that pushes the level of virality. The passion of hating or despising something profusely, or loving it so much that it hurts, is the most compelling push that drives contagion. It amplifies all of the other elements.
Sure, social currency, or the belief that being the first to share something makes you cooler than someone else is a pretty important principle, but emotion knocks it out. And yes, being able to tell a story is crucial, but being able to make someone cry (or laugh out loud) is critical.
Your idea doesn’t have to hit all 6 principles at 100% capacity. Did Hotline Bling have any Practical Value??? Perhaps to some, but in the other 5 it hit the mark. Was it an engineered masterpiece created by the record company? DAMN STRAIGHT. Nothing is random nowadays, and neither was the success of Hotline Bling. I can’t prove it, but surely the minds behind Drake do a little more than roll the dice…
Wasn’t Drake the #1 streamed artist on Spotify in 2015? Random anyone?