March 30, 2008
"Viral Media: Hows and Whys" Podcast Available

As Henry Jenkins mentioned briefly in his post earlier today, the podcast from the colloquium event hosted by the Convergence Culture Consortium back in February is now available online. That event, entitled "Viral Media--Hows and Whys," featured C3 Consulting Researcher Shenja van der Graaf hosting Mike Rubenstein from The Barbarian Group, who was one of our guest speakers at Futures of Entertainment 2, and Fanista's Natalie Lent, a Harvard alum who I first met at FoE2.

The podcast is available here.

In my blogging about the event that night (see here), I wrote:

he discussion dealt with a wide range of issues surrounding "viral," including word-of-mouth marketing, the institutional forces which shape how "viral" campaigns are executed, the ways in which social networking sites and message boards play a role in the distribution of this content, and appropriate and inappropriate ways companies can push their products along to encourage this "viral" spread. [ . . . ] C3 Research Manager Joshua Green specifically posed the question about what an offline event like the Cartoon Network/Boston fiasco last February should be understood as an example of "buzz marketing" and "viral marketing, both in the effects it had on trying to create these types of campaigns, as well as whether it would have been a good idea had it not created a public outrage. The link above is to a piece I initially wrote in response to the local controversy once a "viral" or "buzz" campaign was misunderstood as a public safety hazard.

In a followup post later that night, I wrote about issues of transparency in terms of viral media (see here), based on some interesting comments Natalie Lent made at the event. I wrote, "In particular, Natalie talked about some of the "astroturfing" missteps that companies have made and how, as a practitioner, Fanscape always veers away from situations in which they would misrepresent their being an advocate for a company and likewise tries to express to companies the many economic reasons why not being transparent when marketing is a bad idea. She pointed out, for instance, that the Word of Mouth Marketing Association requires its members to pledge to always be completely honest and transparent about the type of work they are doing."

If these topics interest you, we hope you'll check out the podcast for yourself, and we look forward to any feedback you might have, here in the comments section or by contacting me directly, at