Chapter 1. Word of Mouth Goes World of Mouth

Why is there even a need for social media? In less than three years, it became the most popular activity on the Web,[4] supplanting pornography for the first time in Internet history. Even search engines weren't powerful enough to do that.

Remember several years back when the last three to four seconds of many television commercials prompted viewers to use various AOL keywords? You don't see or hear that anymore do you? What do you see? People are sending this traffic to social networks. A very prominent example of this is CBS, which sends a majority of its March Madness basketball traffic, not to its own website, but to

Why has social media's popularity been so meteoric? This rapid ascent is due in large part to its ability to help people avoid information indigestion. At first glance, this would seem counterintuitive because social media, in its inherent nature via status updates, microblogs, social bookmarks, video sharing, photo commenting, and so on, actually produces more content and information. Because of this increase in information, you would think that it would cause more confusion, not less. But, when we dive deeper, we can see why this is not the case.

In his groundbreaking book, The Long Tail, Chris Anderson eloquently describes the ability of the Internet within free markets to easily and effectively service small interest groups:

The great thing about broadcast is that it can bring one show to millions ...

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