A few days ago, I theorized that viral marketing is a result that’s always hoped for, but seldom within the advertiser’s control. I used the phenomenon of the “25 things” chain letter on Facebook to illustrate my point.
It turns out that only a day earlier, Slate Magazine’s Chris Wilson had similar thoughts. After conducting a survey on how the chain letter began and how it grew, he came to the following conclusion:
“Viral marketers might take note of the patterns that “25 Random Things About Me” obeyed. The best hope for someone looking to start a grass-roots craze is to introduce a wide variety of schemes into the wild and pray like hell that one of them evolves into a virulent meme. If evolution is any guide, however, there’s no predicting what succeeds and what doesn’t. Just look at the platypus.”
Couldn’t have put it better myself (unfortunately). Here is the full article.