Facebook Etiquette and Virality

11 Feb


I see these all the time – a photo or link posted by one friend and then another and then another…not “shared” btw, coz these friends don’t know each other – but obviously seen at the main source – and then posted on their own pages.

If I feel something for that photo or link, I “like” or “comment” on it (rarely, i also “share” it). But, that is the FIRST time i catch it on my newsfeed. Then, when the next person uploads it on his/ her timeline, I don’t repeat that action – but each time I do feel a stab of guilt – that friend of mine will never know that I DO like that post! (Afterall, self expression notwithstanding, its true that most of us check facebook multiple times after posting someone to see what reaction we got! – even my 7 year old Achchu, who has taken to posting “restront reviews” – her spelling and “ossum recipes” on my friend Shoma’s website, asks me – hey mom, who “commended” on my recipe?). So, that’s my question on etiquette – should I like again and again and again? if only to keep my conscience clear, if not to make my friends happy?

But see, its interesting – is that piece of content coming again on my timeline because:

a) It is a hugely topical post, and therefore of interest to all? I.e., is this going viral? – ofcourse, “what makes viral” is a whole topic by itself – from “let’s go to Tahrir!” to “Four more years” to gangnam style (on that note, have you seen the latest gangnam style video to hit viral – the sleeping baby one? Hilarious – not so much for the baby’s actions, but for her sister’s reactions! if not, watch here… to the story of the two girls who got their puppy when they got a million likes on facebook (see site) thus prompting many clones..


b) My newsfeed originates from my “friends” who are all “people like me” and hence the same kind of content will appeal to all of them. This is an intriguing and scary idea – coz, networks notwithstanding, many of the folks I know and befriend really really have NO way of knowing each other, and yet they are posting the same stuff. So, 2 concepts arise from here:

b1 – STP – NO NOT the Sanitary Treatment plant for water!!! but “Segmentation Targeting Positioning” – thats what helps marketers cluster like folks similarly and then manufacture stuff to appeal to them – it really is bringing a set of people down to their lowest common multiple and deriving the commonalities amongst them. So, we are all the cluster of the funny stuff likers, the women rights upholders, the music lovers

b2 – Social connectedness, virality and influence. This is the concept on which all social networks are built – but I think Linkedin shows it more than others as that typically is not always friends/ family but professional contacts. This is the stuff of which “influence” algorithms like Klout/ Kred etc made. Its also the science/ art that manufacturers are exploring in a bid to get their messages out – specially in healthcare, where traditional marketing is highly regulated.

Maybe that’s the reason why “influence networks” and “virus” have pictures looking the same!

infnets virus

As Brian Solis said: “Social Media is about sociology and psychology more than technology.”


3 Responses to “Facebook Etiquette and Virality”

  1. Shoma February 11, 2013 at 7:42 am #

    Was beginning to miss your posts! And this one very pertinent for me – remember the time (when I had just got on to FB) I sweated and lost sleep because I thought I had to respond to every comment on my posts on FB otherwise it would offend my friends :))

    • joshsang February 11, 2013 at 8:19 am #

      yeah, but see, this is one level further -SAME photo on 20 people’s timeline – do u say the SAMR thing over and over again? (very “we don;t need no education-istic!)


  1. The Unpredictable Nature of Virality | joshsang - February 11, 2014

    […] I had posted a blog roughly a year ago on viral posts, and facebook etiquette regarding reactions to them. It mention some viral videos of […]

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