The advent of social media forever changed the term “viral”. Myspace, and later Facebook, ignited the explosion of “going viral”. Today it seems like a new social media outlet pops up everyday. Instagram, Pinterest, Google Plus are just a few. I think I saw a cat chasing its tail get 25,000 likes on Instagram. Who can forget the 2007 You tube sensation “Charlie bit my Finger”? Over half a billion people laughed at the little boy with the accent cry out “OUCH”!. This is the essence of viral in the new age. Long before the term “internet” was everyday language, a 58 year old Polish Cardinal was elected Pope. Korol Wojtyla became Pope John Paul II in the fall of 1978. A key player in driving Communism from his native Poland, and later all of Europe, Pope John Paul II, along with Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher influenced change that affected the world for decades to come. Communism, particularly the oppressive Soviet Union, has fallen from its once strong seat of power, and more people are better for it.
In your search for awesomeness, be careful to avoid the “viral” trap. Whether it be as simple as being the likeable sales rep with little sales and a huge personality, or the marketing faux paux of Disney’s environmentally aware Lorax campaigning for Mazda’s newest SUV, the sizzle doesn’t always sell the steak. The sales rep without sales goes home hungry regardless of how likable he is. The cute and colorful marketing campaign with contradicting messages doesn’t sell. They may be fun to watch, but no one really cares and no one changes for it. Influence is much harder to achieve and sustain than being viral. Author and blogger Jon Acuff writes about doing work that matters, work that is vital, not just viral. The secret to adding vitalness to the viralness is practice, practice, practice. A healthy level of self-awareness is needed to take a step back and work at your craft. Understand your customer’s “Why” and connect with them, and make stuff that matters. Afterall, your goal is not to be well known, your goal is to be awesome. That means you are positively influencing people by playing a vital role in their quest for awesome.
What one thing are you doing today to practice being awesome?
Rocco De Leo