What does viral actually mean?





So what does viral actually mean? I get asked this question a lot.  Well to be honest it’s usually not asked directly but the blank, glossy eyed stare that comes over peoples faces when the topic comes up is enough for me to launch into my usual explanation.  Which is the following:

To me, viral product is one that gives people benefit when they share it with others. This could be an article that you share with someone because you think it’s really informative or really provocative, or it could be a product that is totally useless unless others also have it. A telephone, for example, is a viral product.  You don’t get much use out of it unless someone else has one.  Or, take facebook.  How great would facebook be if none of your friends were on it.

So some viral products are the content that gets shared, like a funny video about a shower gel, or it’s the means by which people actually share it, like twitter.