Creating Ideas That Spread – Don’t Target Specific Networks or Channels, Target Niches and Worldviews

Communications channels have been forever fragmented into:

  • Hundreds of cable channels
  • Millions of blogs
  • A plethora of social networks
  • Thousands of magazines and publications of all types both online and offline

I could go on, but you get the idea…

Everything has been diced and diced again, and the way news/information can be received is totally customizable. And, within those fragmented networks there exists an array of niches and topics even more diverse.

Not only is how you receive your news customizable, but the way that people find, publish, distribute and remix information and content is something that is completely personalized.

The blogosphere and customization
Customization and personalization is huge in the blogosphere. People blog through an array of interfaces as diverse as WordPress, Blogger, Typepad, and 20 or so others (probably even more), some use their own domains, others use free hosting provided by Google. Some use StumbleUpon, some use Digg and some use Reddit. Others don’t use any social media and get their news through Google alerts or RSS. Some people read mainstream media, others get news purely from the Web. Some read one or two other blogs, some read hundreds. Some use Twitter and Friendfeed, some use Facebook and MySpace. Some use everything.

Traditional journalists and customization
Some traditional journalists will read the wires, others don’t care for them. Some want to be reached out to by PR folk, others ignore them entirely. Some reporters like email, some like to talk on the phone (although not many of the latter).

So, it’s clear that:

  • People create content and share information in diverse ways
  • People get information in equally diverse ways through diverse formats

You probably already figured out what I’m driving at.

Ignore the network and the fragmentation and create ideas for the niche. If your idea speaks to a worldview in a way that really resonates, it will naturally find its way through the complex networks we’ve drawn up to spread information.

I’m not going to go into the whole Web 2.0 bubble stuff, its clichéd and not worth more ink (I mean zeros and ones). Ultimately the most usable and best apps, networks, services and sites will survive.

Essentially, you can’t expect to use every new application and service out there, and that’s okay. In fact, if you aren’t going to use an application to the fullest it probably isn’t even worth using it at all. Focus on being really successful in just a few instead of being mildly successful in many. The cross pollination is there, and the ideas will find their way between them anyway.

Besides, building 5,000 followers in Twitter is all well and good, but what if your idea is so cool 10 people with 5,000 followers say it for you?

Compelling information that speaks to a specific group will spread through that group, regardless of how spread out that group is. Don’t underestimate the ability of people to organize and share information to help positive and unique ideas to spread.

Launching a campaign specifically for Digg, Reddit, Facebook, MySpace or one specific target seems short sighted when if you put something exceeding clever out there it will naturally find its way into the right networks, the ones in the target niche you’re reaching out to.

Just like niche blogging works, creating niche messages and niche marketing works too.

To succeed, you must:

  • Speak to a worldview and be specific and direct.
  • Not dumb down any part of your idea. Since you’re targeting a niche it should be something that resonates strongly. A watered-down idea will fall flat.
  • Develop something passionate, authentic, creative and original. Yes, it should be all of those things, and not just people internally should think so – real people need to think so.
  • Not think in terms of purely subjects and topics – worldviews can be anything from groups of people who like to wear cowboy boots to groups of people who have pink houses, to groups of people who like Pink Floyd, to groups of people who love Seinfeld. But specific, clever ideas that speak to a group (hint: especially an ignored group) will spread.