150-WORD REVIEW: Contagious by Jonah Berger

This post is by new contributor Eamonn Carey, who tweets here and is Head of Digital for MHP Communications

contagious-300x459Why do certain things go viral and take over the world? The reality is that there’s no one answer – no one ring to rule them all. There are so many variables at play that it’s almost impossible to predict what will work and what won’t.

What Contagious tries to do is give people a primer on the constituent parts of ideas that have ended up going viral. Berger’s thesis is that ideas that have social currency, triggers, emotion, a public element, practical value and stories are the ones that become Gangnam Style successes.

Fast Company reckons Berger wants to be the next Gladwell. The book bears that out. Simply explained and illustrated with plenty of examples, this is a pop-science book for the masses rather than a exhaustive manual for specialists. Occasional repetition is irritating, but overall, it’s well worth a read.

Angry Birds, 193,750 views and £39.12 in ad revenue

Apparently our smartphones now have more computing power than NASA had when it sent a man to the moon in 1969. Or as one wag commented recently on Twitter… they launched a man to the moon, we launch birds into pigs. Continue reading

Is social capital the new currency or a pile of Somaliland shillings?

Last summer I had an adventure and flew to Addis Ababa from Mumbai and then travelled through Ethiopia on African buses to the Red Sea and spent a week in Somaliland on the way. Right up there with the best of life.

I had to hire a soldier for $15 per day, had a few problems with child-soldiers off their tits on qat (a masticated opiate), saw amazing cave drawings at Las Keel, nearly lost a finger when ‘my’ soldier macheted a fruit melon and had my first ‘dry-swim’ in the Gulf of Aden, in temperatures of 50°C. Continue reading