Pete Cashmore of Mashable posted a Tweet today with a link to the Slate article “The Evolutionary Roots of Facebook’s ’25 Things’ craze” by Chris Wilson. I thought this article was a good follow-up to my other post about Claire Suddath’s article “25 Things I Didn’t Want to Know About You.” Wilson discusses his theory that Facebook trends evolve and mutate, in concordance with Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. While Wilson’s analogy is somewhat creepy, he makes some legitimate points.
All in all, Facebook infections look remarkably similar to human ones. And like organisms, the odds do seem stacked against all but the fittest of memes […] Still, viral marketers might take note of the patterns that ‘25 Random Things About Me’ obeyed. The best hope for someone looking to start a grass-roots craze is to introduce a wide variety of schemes into the wild and pray like hell that one of them evolves into a virulent meme. If evolution is any guide, however, there’s no predicting what succeeds and what doesn’t. Just look at the platypus.
Is this also the best hope for journalists brainstorming for an online news model that generates profit? Introducing a variety of journalistic models into the uncharted wilderness of the Internet and hoping that one catches on and evolves into something people will pay for?