Saturday 14 January 2012

Viral marketing is as much about context as content

Saturday and @Madeupstats is running another #madeupstaturday for Fyneales. This weekend's theme: the Internet.

Sadly lacking in creativity today, I was amused by some quite clever quips.

Then I saw this:

Nothing to do with #madeupstaturday, it was a bunch of numbers and vaguely Internet-related.

So I appropriated it.
While Michael Jackson's tweet got 8 retweets and 1 favourite, mine received 50+ tweets in moments. Twitter won't tell me the exact RT count but it looks like 100s and over 20 favourites within 4 hours. As I stood chatting to a potential new flatmate, my iPhone was going insane with notifications from Twitter with replies, retweets and new followers.

Also, Michael has been informed that his information is a @madeupstats!

So what?

Getting a tweet to spread - and to spread all over the world from South America to Russia - in quick time, is not just about the content. My taking the tweet and associating it with a different hashtag, with far more watchers, meant that it propagated far outside my usual Twitter network. Let's call it 'reproduction marketing', taking content and repurposing it in order to disseminate it far and wide.

Meanwhile, you may well be curious to know if the original information is accurate.

I ran a search for 'MB of DNA in sperm' and discovered that Reddit had the exact same information back in 2009! And it's been repeated over and over in various corners of the Internet. But it appears to be false.

According to,
approximately 21.45 megabytes of ‘data’ is transferred during each act of human sexual reproduction in the form of gametes.
 So the figures really were @madeupstats.