The Science Behind What Makes Something Go Viral

What’s the secret formula behind why the Harlem Shake and Gangnam Style went viral? How do you land a spot on the New York Times’ “Most-Emailed” articles list?
Wharton Marketing Professor Jonah Berger set out to answer these questions in his new book, Contagious: Why Things Catch On.
“It’s not luck, it’s not random, it’s not cats,” he says. “There’s a science behind it. We have to understand the psychology and the social transmission process.”
Berger was inspired by Malcolm Gladwell‘s “The Tipping Point,” which is also about how ideas spread, but says “that book is sort of half wrong.” The concept of reaching a few influencers is compelling, he explains, but to make something go viral you need to focus more on the message itself.
Watch our conversation here:
 
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