When I sat down with the author of Contagious: Why Things Catch On during SXSW this year, I didn’t expect it to turn into an exploration of my own Twitter psyche. But Jonah Berger turned out to be an excellent therapist–at least if you want to know how to improve your follower count.
“Because there is no one sitting in the room with us, we are willing to open up in some ways,” says the Wharton School of Business professor. “It allows us to reveal things we might not otherwise because we don’t see the other people around.”
That can be a good or a pretty bad thing, depending on how you use it. But one of the six STEPPS that help make ideas go viral, according to Berger’s decade-long research, is “ease for emotion.” The more we care about a piece of information the more likely we are to pass it along. Personal stories are more share-worthy because they are authentic and resonate in a way that most marketing messages do not.
Berger also thinks that digital communication has the potential to change in-person conversation for the better. Watch the video to find out why.