How could I write a blog about what POP’d out this week without discussing the phenomenon that is Susan Boyle?
Perhaps you’re one of the 85.2 million (!) people who have viewed her YouTube clip of I Dreamed a Dream from Les Miserables that received a rousing standing ovation from the just-moments-before jaded judges and audience on the Britain’s Got Talent TV show.
Susan, a 47 year old “unglamorous” woman who lives with her cat in a tiny town in Scotland, doesn’t own a computer, has never been kissed, and had never heard of YouTube. Now, one week after her audition went viral, she has 1 million “friends” on Facebook, her own Wikipedia article, and is the Web’s hottest entertainer.
Why? What has contributed to this “perfect storm” of instant global fame?
Henry Jenkins, co-director of MIT’s Comparative Media Studies program, attributes it to something he calls “spreadability” in which online consumers find and then voluntarily forward a favorite clip to their social network.
Lynn Johnson, a Salt Lake City psychologist says it’s because we “want to believe in something higher.” When we discover it, we achieve an emotional state called “elevation,” a warm, glowing feeling that comes over us when something transcends our expectations.
A Washington Post article by Jose Antonio Vargas mentioned that many people “were drawn by the one-act-play quality of the video, with a beginning, middle and end complete with a heroine (Boyle) and a villain (the snarky Simon Cowel).”
Anne Jolley, a self-confessed frumpy 47 year old interviewed by USA Today reporter Maria Puente, confesses to being “disheartened, disenfranchised, disillusioned and dis-just-about-everything-else in these bleak times.” She said Boyle’s performance lifted her spirits and gave her “reason for hope in the world and proof that dreams can come true.”
I agree with all the above.
What’s this mean for you? If you’re a speaker, musician, author, politican or leader . . . it means that to the degree you:
* transcend people’s expectations,
* give disenheartened people reason for hope
* elevate people’s spirits
is to the degree they voluntarily spread YOUR message and take your cause, campaign, creation or company viral because they become your enthusiastic word-of-mouth advertisers.