The Power of Virality: How Reading Changes your Brain

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Glasp

Jul 09, 2023 • 5 min read

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The Power of Virality: How Reading Changes your Brain

In today's digital age, virality has become a buzzword in the world of marketing and product development. Companies strive to create products that go viral, spreading like wildfire and capturing the attention of millions. But what exactly is virality, and how can we harness its power? In this article, we will explore the five types of virality and the importance of choosing the right one for your product. But before we dive into that, let's take a moment to understand the common thread that runs through all forms of virality: inception.

At its core, virality is about planting an idea in someone's mind and getting them excited enough to try and use your product. Whether it's through word-of-mouth, demonstration, infectiousness, invitations, or a combination of these, the goal is to make people so enamored with your product that they can't help but share it with others.

Word-of-mouth virality is perhaps the most straightforward type. It occurs when a product is so good that people can't resist telling their friends about it. To ensure the success of word-of-mouth virality, it's crucial to make your product easy to find and easy to describe. A catchy name that is easy to remember and spell goes a long way in making your product stand out.

Demonstration virality, on the other hand, is all about showcasing your product in action. When the nature of your product is such that people can't help but show it off, you've hit the jackpot. Think of Instagram and its photo filters, Musical.ly and its music videos, Pinterest and its pinboard, or Uber and its iconic button. These products are designed in a way that simply using them becomes a demonstration in itself.

Infectious virality takes things a step further. It involves designing your product in a way that encourages people to work together to spread its usage. Snapchat, with its photo-sharing feature, Twitter, where retweets amplify the reach of a tweet, or Nextdoor, which fosters neighborhood communities, are all prime examples of infectious virality. Invitations play a crucial role in this type of virality, but it's important to strike a balance. False or spammy invitations can backfire and harm your product's virality.

It's worth noting that infectious virality doesn't apply to all products. If your product isn't naturally social, trying to force infectiousness may do more harm than good. In such cases, demonstration virality may be a better approach. If your product revolves around creating content or experiences that are easily shareable, focusing on demonstration virality can yield better results.

Now, let's shift our focus to something entirely different but equally powerful: reading. Books have been around for centuries and have stood the test of time. They offer a unique experience that no other medium can replicate. Reading forces us to dive beneath the surface, allowing us to understand the depth and complexity of various subjects.

But reading isn't just about acquiring knowledge; it also has profound effects on our brains. Numerous studies have shown that reading fiction enhances our ability to empathize with others. By immersing ourselves in the emotional journey of a character, we develop a deeper understanding of their feelings and beliefs. This increased empathy extends beyond the pages of a book, influencing our interactions with others in real life.

In addition to empathy, reading improves our cognitive abilities. Research has shown that reading enhances our visual and verbal processing skills. Imaging studies have revealed that reading changes the structure and connectivity of our brains, improving our ability to process visual and verbal information. This, in turn, boosts our creativity, imagination, and clarity of thought.

The benefits of reading are so significant that the National Health Service in the UK has implemented a program called Reading Well. Under this scheme, doctors can prescribe self-help books to patients struggling with depression. Reading has been shown to have a therapeutic effect, providing solace and a new perspective on life's challenges.

Despite the undeniable advantages of reading, many of us struggle to find the time or motivation to pick up a book. We may find ourselves browsing bookstores, excited about the prospect of starting a new book, only to let it gather dust on our shelves. This is a common problem, but one that can be overcome with a simple solution.

Setting aside just 30 minutes before bed to read 10 pages can be a game-changer. Not only does it help us wind down after a long day, but it also ensures that we make progress in our reading journey. Before we know it, those 10 pages turn into 20, 30, and beyond. By making reading a part of our daily routine, we can reap the benefits and nurture our minds.

In conclusion, virality and reading may seem like two unrelated topics, but they share a common thread: the power to captivate and influence. Understanding the different types of virality and choosing the right one for your product can be the key to success. Similarly, incorporating reading into your life can have a profound impact on your brain, enhancing empathy, creativity, and cognitive abilities.

So, here are three actionable pieces of advice to take away from this article:

  • 1. Understand your product and its audience: Before attempting to go viral, take the time to understand what makes your product unique and who your target audience is. This knowledge will help you choose the most suitable type of virality and maximize its impact.
  • 2. Make your product memorable and shareable: Whether it's through a catchy name or a captivating demonstration, make sure your product leaves a lasting impression. People are more likely to share something that is easy to remember and describe.
  • 3. Prioritize reading in your daily routine: Even if you only have a few minutes to spare, make reading a part of your daily routine. It's a small investment with significant long-term benefits for your brain and overall well-being.

In the end, the true measure of success lies in the number of people using your product or the depth of experience gained from reading. So, embrace the power of virality and the transformative effects of reading, and watch as your world expands in ways you never imagined.

Resource:

  1. "The Five Types of Virality. and choosing the right one for your… | by Josh Elman | Greylock Perspectives", https://news.greylock.com/the-five-types-of-virality-8ba42051928d (Glasp)
  2. "Reading Changes your Brain, let me explain.", https://www.jackclose.com/reading/ (Glasp)

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