So, If You Cough, Will I Catch It?

Part 3 – How it spreads

….continuing my tongue in cheek comparison of real infections with viral advertising, now I will look at the factors that make ideas spread at all.

An other important factors related to the virus itself, in this case your product, which need to be considered is this:
Transmissibility – the ease with which the disease is transmitted from one person to another, or in our case of our product, Moviestorm, the application is either collected from one location (consider the Broad Street Pump as an analogy of a website from which you can download a product or idea) or passed from one person to another (like the common cold). The transmission of the idea can be broken down into smaller factors: method of transmission, speed of transmission, and transmission losses, each of which we can affect if we want to modulate the transmission of our idea. I'm going to talk more about Moviestorm in this installment as it has been commented to me privately that it is best to make things real and concrete, so here we go!

Method of transmission – any good virus will take advantage of multiple methods of transmission and Moviestorm is no different in this respect.  The three classic methods of transmission: direct (physical contact), vector mediated (carried by something else), and sporulation (leaving something infectious lying about to be picked up).

In order to maximise direct transmission Moviestorm needs to make it as easy as possible for somebody who has Moviestorm to pass it on to somebody else.  The less effort it is to transmit the disease, and the lower the barriers between the Moviestorm user and the next person then the more powerful this transmission method is.  We are specifically trying to ensure that the barriers to transmit the Moviestorm application from one person to another are very low. Where we find a barrier, we attempt to remove or lower it.

Moviestorm had two direct transmission methods: the first being where somebody downloads the lightweight installer to a friend, preferably with an e-mail or recommendation that they try Moviestorm. This depends entirely on marketing, PR and presence in the market to bring people to your site (our site even) and is the area on which 90% of all marketing and web pundits deal with. But it is only part of the story! The second being where somebody invites an other person to participate with them in a collaborative Moviestorm production.  The second method may involve asking existing Moviestorm users to help with a movie project, but for the purposes of this blog, we are talking about the situation where somebody asks a non-Moviestorm user to create some specific element of a movie (music, dialogue, prop, etc). This is all about the classic “word of mouth” campaign on which viral marketing is based and on which so much has been written. This again, only deals with direct transmission, even if both work. There are still two more ways to get the idea out there: vectors and spores. (No, not the game, the spore.)

In order to maximise vector transmission of Moviestorm we need to make sure that lots of other “things” are able to carry Moviestorm without succumbing to the Moviestorm disease.  A clear practical example of this is covermounting the product on the Machinima for Dummies book. And other would be bundling Moviestorm with a piece of hardware such as a graphics card or laptop computer.  The more factors we can utilise the more complete the infection of the rest of the community will be. Of specific and real interest to us is the use of the mobile telephone in spreading Moviestorm as an idea, as it is a rapid and traceable method of distribution.

Moviestorm is also capable of sporulating. (Normally only bacteria or fungi sporulate, but go with me on this one for a paragraph.) Videos made by Moviestorm users are one of our most powerful tools of contagion.  Provided a movie is clearly and visibly created in Moviestorm, and provided there is a signal or link back to somewhere that Moviestorm can be acquired then we may consider every single movie made by our users as being a spore which carries Moviestorm to others and causes them to become infected.

We can combine the Moviestorm movie “spores” with multiple vectors so that we spread into communities that we cannot reach directly over longer periods of time.  In practical terms this means ensuring that Moviestorm movies are carried on multiple traditional channels and through Internet video sites owned and supported by others.

So, we've dealt with getting sick, with encouraging people to spread the disease, and now we have looked at methods of transmission. What next, in Part 4, I wonder…