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Zarrella's Hierarchy of Contagiousness: The Science, Design, and Engineering of Contagious Ideas Hardcover – August 23, 2011


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Dan Zarrella is an award-winning social media scientist at HubSpot. He has a background in web development and combines his programming capabilities with a passion for social marketing to study social media behavior from a data-backed position and teach marketers scientifically grounded best practices.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 80 pages
  • Publisher: The Domino Project (August 23, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 193671924X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1936719242
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 5.3 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #768,753 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dan Zarrella is a social, search, and viral marketing scientist with a background in web development who combines his programming capabilities with a passion for social marketing to create applications like the social URL shortener Votrs.com, Link Attraction Factors keyword tools, as well as TweetPsych, TwitterBrandSponsors, TweetBacks and TweetSuite.

His Link Attraction Factors report helped readers determine which topics, days, times, and keywords attract links in social media stories for semantic content optimization, while his Viral Content report details the motivations, preferences and habits involved in online content sharing.

Dan has written extensively about the science of viral marketing, memetics and social communications on his own blog and for a variety of popular industry blogs, including Mashable, CopyBlogger, ReadWriteWeb, Plagiarism Today, ProBlogger, Social Desire, CenterNetworks, Nowsourcing, and SEOScoop.

He has been featured in The Twitter Book, The Financial Times, NYPost, The Boston Globe, Forbes, Wired, The Wall Street Journal, Mashable and TechCrunch. He was recently awarded Shorty and Semmy awards for social media & viral marketing.

He has spoken at PubCon, Search Engine Strategies, Convergence '09, 140 The Twitter Conference, WordCamp Mid Atlantic, Social Media Camp, Inbound Marketing Bootcamp, and The Texas Domains and Developers Conference, and he currently works as an inbound marketing manager at HubSpot.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

78 of 84 people found the following review helpful By Mark Alan Effinger on August 23, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
OK, as a social media maven for... well, since the word was invented, I figured Dan's read would be perfect yawn material for curing my fractured sleep cycle.

Not so. In fact, I should have known better. Anything stamped "Domino Project" is almost a sure bet. This is no exception.

Here's the intro paragraph to help align your brain to the following content:
"If you've read about social media or been to any marketing conferences, you've probably heard tons of advice like "love your customers," "engage in the conversation," "be yourself," and "make friends." I call this "unicorns-and-rainbows advice." Sure, it sounds good and it probably makes you feel all warm and fuzzy. But it's not actually based on anything more substantial than "truthiness" and guesswork."

But wait, it gets better.

In addressing the Spread of Ideas (or Viralness, the favorite meme of social media marketers everywhere), Dan developed a simple hierarchy, similar to Maslow:

1- "The person must be exposed to your content. This means that the person has to be following you on Twitter, be a fan of your page on Facebook, subscribe to your email list, and so on.
2- The person must become aware of your specific piece of content (the idea you want to spread). He has to read your tweet or open your email message.
3- The person must be motivated by something (generally in the content itself) in order to want to share the idea with his contacts.

Now, at this point you're going "Isn't this Seth Godin's Idea Virus all over again?"

Well yes. And no. Because quite a few years have elapsed. What worked then (Seth giving away a PDF to drive book sales at, uh, Borders...;-) could be construed as noise now.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By MAtkinson on June 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I figured it was only $6 for 80 pages (actually, turns out was only 64 pages in my ebook. When you paid $6, that's disappointment #1 - and this is hardly a "book," it's a single, booklet, white paper, whatever.) I'd not write this review if I only paid a dollar. It's a pretty net-negative review after buying and reading this last night and is simply my honest opinion/experience. I think the author is capable of adding a lot more value because of his reputation and other good contributions online.

Quickly tiresome is combative language describing all the bad guys out there. A little goes a long way, and I appreciate that yes, there are too many of them. But the negativity is so pervasive it feels immature - after several times of these descriptions and many more to come, it becomes the feeling you get when somebody insecure it putting down others so male themselves seem smarter. Ugh.

Many of the paragraphs simply didn't flow together; like a collection of thoughts strung together to sound really intelligent but actually isn't anything more than veneer.

Yet as I read the book I maintained hope of a silver lining because after all, it's the "science", design and engineering (power word, show me more) of contagious ideas. All the right words, bravo. I see the book focuses on 3 sections: Exposure, Attention, and Motivation and am excited about some solid, sink my teeth in strategies that I can follow. Nothing of the sort was in this book.

Why are there no solid, sink-your-teeth in strategies and what is there instead? The book was simply a collection of "scientific" "studies" that mostly the author conducted, loosely grouped into a few categories. I know science.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Bradley Bevers TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 23, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Social Media Science sounds like a fairy tale, but Dan Zarella proves otherwise in his new book on contagious ideas. He focuses on social media because they are a "petri dish" for ideas, but the principles that he is able to extract from social media metrics can be applied to all of your ideas. This short book will tell you the best ways to spread your ideas and make them more contagious.

The author starts off by building his framework on three points. For your ideas to be more contagious, you must:

1. Increase the number of people exposed to your content.

2. Create more attention-grabbing content.

3. Include powerful calls to action.

Following this, the author provides relevant data to prove his claims. This information is invaluable, and very helpful to anyone who uses social media at all. For instance:

Do you know if it helps or hurts to call yourself a guru (or author, speaker, founder)?

Do larger groups or more active small groups spread ideas faster?

Are negative or positive ideas more contagious?

Should you talk about yourself?

How often should you share content?

What is the best day and time to attract "retweeters"?

What is the best time to blog for your click rate? For comments?

All of the answers to these questions, and many more, are in this book. Each section is short and to the point, no more than four paragraphs and a visual graph of the data that backs it up. This is a book that will pay for itself easily, and the information contained in it is valuable to every business, author, and marketer. Highly Recommended.
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