Vocabulary: What "Viral" Means

Yesterday a friend said that he was creating a "viral video."  Being in social media and word of mouth marketing I internally cringed. No matter how creative, radical or shocking a video or campaign may be, there is no guarantee that it's going to be viral. Every marketer hopes a video or campaign goes viral or that they can say a video or campaign went viral but no one can create a viral video or campaign. So what does viral mean in the context of social media and word of mouth marketing? From the American Marketing Association, it's defined as "A marketing phenomenon that facilitates and encourages people to pass along a marketing message. Nicknamed viral because the number of people exposed to a message mimics the process of passing a virus or disease from one person to another."  So there you have it...be aware of how you use the word "viral" and use it wisely.  Good luck in creating your own viral marketing campaign!