Wednesday, April 12, 2006

How BlackBerry grew and grew through applied memetics


Consider the BlackBerry.

How much advertising has BlackBerry purchased? Virtually none. Instead, its maker created a cool design with a useful function. Then it seeded the little email communicator among its targets: lawyers, doctors, stockbrokers and other professionals who needed constant, portable, simple access to email.

Once a few began to use the Blackberry in the field, others saw their action and imitated it. The “Buy the Blackberry” meme spread like wildfire. Following the Law of Propagation, the meme replicated through the meme cycle.
  • Level 3 (objective) : Hosts saw their peers use the BlackBerry.
  • Level 2 (subjective) : “The BlackBerry is a highly useful tool, it looks very cool, it has the endorsement of my peers, there is prestige in having one and there are no social objections.”
  • Level 1 (memetic): “Buy the BlackBerry.”
Following the Law of Gravitation, the BlackBerry traveled the familiar path of all successful memes, the memetic ladder:
  • Source: The inventor creates and manufactures the BlackBerry.
  • Cluster: The inventor demonstrates the BlackBerry to the first hosts.
  • Movement: The first hosts pass on the meme to their peers.
  • Trend: The peers spread the meme exponentially.
  • Mainstream: The BlackBerry becomes a standard tool among professionals who work in a large group, such as a partnership or a corporation, where portable communication is essential.

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