Viral Content… For College Credit?

from the seriously? dept

How college education has changed…. Apparently, over in the UK, there’s an effort underway to teach college art and design students how to make viral emails. The program seems to be related to some contest — and it’s not entirely clear from the article how the contest and the classroom lessons are related. However, it does show how the concept of “viral content” is now being considered something of a legitimate artform to some. Of course, the thing that is left out is that the best viral content is often quite unintentional. The more you try to make viral content on purpose, the worse it often gets. That’s not to say that there hasn’t been successfully planned viral content, but for every successful attempt, the list of failures is long and, well, often quite sad.

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Viral Content… For College Credit?”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Sir Spams Alot says:

If this is legitimized...

In a few years, I suppose we could reading Doctorate and Masters Thesis on how to create the next “I Love You Virus”

If legitimized, I suppose in a few years one could purchase a monthly magazine detailing how current businesses are creating viral content. It would be one part social engineering, two parts silly pictures, another part on current IMAP/POP3 vulnerabilitie/open SMTP relays, and three parts business results- how everyone from the CEO down would support it

I would be so bold as to ask if I could I venture a guess that the publication may be titled “Harvard Spam Review”

Keith says:

Virals in the classroom

Virals are being taught in universities makes perfect sense. Viral advertising is a multimillion pound industry so why wouldn’t you want to teach the up and coming creatives of the world the tricks of the trade to arm them with the tools required for a future job in the creative industries? I mean it’s not as though they’re offering a degree in Madonna or something

Wig says:

Viral =/= Virus !

Whoa fellas!

The story is about ‘viral emails’. These are NOT VIRUS-emails, but normal emails:
They usually point to an internet page (or have an attachment in the form of an image, a video clip, powerpoint presentation…) and they only spread because the receiver explicitly forwards the mail.

They do not contain coding of any kind to automatically spread!!

The basic example is to send an email to someone with an url of a funny clip somewhere on the internet. If the receiver agrees and finds this clip equally enjoyable, he/she may send it on to other people etc.

The next step is to create an image / clip that people want to forward to each other, witch includes a positive message about “brand x”.

That’s viral advertising: let the public be the messenger!

And I don’t have any problems whatsoever with a college class about how to make these. Not more than that I have any objections to classes in advertising in general, anyway.
Look at the bright side: because of these classes they may actually get better. Besides, I don’t think that the success-rate of ‘planned viral content’ is that much lower than the succes-rate of any other advertising…

Practise makes perfect 😀

And Mike, maybe it’s not that much of an art-form, but that’s the same way I think about a lot of art these days 🙂

not a bumbling old fool says:

JSbeckerist…i hope your joking.

for those of you confused, multimillion pound…that’s brittish money, not weight.

i have no problem with a class on digital advertising. advertising is supposed to generate money. if you put x ammount of money into your ads, and return with y more you just generated money, the goal of business. yes you may alienate your consumer base, but that’s a risk with any advert.

but when does this viral ad become a spam? one would hope these ads would be sent by reputable companies with real links that would remove you from their list, and not have your info sold to other firms.

only time will tell

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

It isn’t spam. The idea of creating viral advertising is creating advertisements that are actually cool enough for somebody to send to some friends. This blog points to an article that uses the Star Wars Kid as an example. People sent this all over because it was funny. It isn’t about a company sending an e-mail with information to a giant list of people, it’s creating advertisements that people decide is worth sending to other people they know, who in turn send it to people they know. It is like word of mouth, but with the internet..
If it’s good or entertaining or useful enough, people will spread those ads for your company.

sathish (user link) says:


The new distributed viral forum/blog/wiki/classified/etc viral advertising engine is here. Spread the word about your product or service in short amount of time to millions of people. Get residual traffic and increase search engine visibility by using long lasting backlinks. Low cost, no pay per click fraud issues and great ROI.

Dulee2005mm (user link) says:

Viral Content

The thing that is left out is that the best viral content is often quite unintentional.

Did anyone out there give a try to Wide Circles or WideCircles. They are new word of mouth advertising platform, apparently they can push massive amount of messages through social network mediums like forums,blogs,wiki’s and so on. They say that they only bill for posts active for minimum of 5 days and price seems pretty affordable. I am going to give Wide Circles aka WideCircles a try since I am tired of PPC fraud.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...