Like a Wildfire

February 10
Gabriel Chua

Now here’s a question. Why do ideas spread? I mean, we all know why it does. Maybe it’s funny, maybe it’s meaningful, or maybe it’s just so that interesting that people take notice of it. But surely, there must be more that lies underneath the surface.


There are three main theories as to why ideas spread. The first would be the characteristics of the message, proposed by Berger, which basically entails that the fundamentals of the message is the driving force behind why it spreads.  The second of these three theories would be the characteristics of the medium that the message is delivered by, proposed by Gladwell, which implies that the success of an idea depends on the network said idea travels through. Finally, the last of these theories would be the characteristics of the people delivering the message, proposed by Godin, which says that whether an idea flourishes or not depends on the creator of said message itself.

All these ideas are well and good but I am, on a personal level, still not able to agree with either of them fully. It is essentially due to the fact that I feel its a combination of these three theories that determines whether an idea spreads or not.

OPPA GANGNAM STYLE! Whatever the heck that means. Case in point. Gangnam Style. Seriously, has anyone not heard of these two words? Because if there exists such a person, I pity them because they have missed out on a mega-sensation. Anyways, Gangnam Style was uploaded on YouTube in 2012 and became the site’s most viewed video in a matter of months, holding on to the position for roughly 5 years before being overtaken in 2017. Performed by South-Korean artiste, PSY, Gangnam Style was also the first video in history to hit 1 billion views on YouTube.

But what made Gangnam Style the worldwide cultural phenomenon that it is today? The catchy beats and lyrics? YouTube’s strength? PSY’s undoubted flair and charisma? It’s actually all three. Any musical artiste would be unlikely to succeed if the music that he or she, produces, has poor sound. YouTube, being one of the most popular and most used social networking sites, thus unquestionably, holds enough power and influence to reach a global audience. And PSY, he has it all! A good voice, audacious dance moves, and a real nice personality to boot. With this being said, doesn’t all this ring a bell?

Exactly. With the example of Gangnam Style, we are able to see the theories put forth by Berger, Gladwell and Godin, come together where, Message, Network, and People, work hand in hand to create a masterpiece of an idea that will undeniably go down in history as one of the most iconic music videos of all time.

With that being said and done. I firmly uphold the view that the theories put forth by Berger, Gladwell and Godin are to work in tandem for any idea to truly spread like a wildfire. But, what do you guys think? Drop a comment and let me know your thoughts!

Signing off,
Gabriel.

20 thoughts on “Like a Wildfire

  1. I do agree with this article. All three theories written by Berger, Gladwell and Godin do work hand in hand in order for an idea to truly spread like a wildfire.

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  2. Interesting Read! Of course! Who does not know Gangnam Style? Like you said, that video really did spread like wildfire and the iconic dance was even performed by so many people around the world! That really left a huge impact on the community πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. For sure it had a huge impact. To me, it really put South Korea on the map with regards to the musical industry. Yes, there are more popular songs among Kpop fans but I doubt that any of them are actually more iconic and widely-known as Gangnam Style.

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  3. An interesting piece. The theories are very straightforward and makes a lot of sense. Have you considered weighing in comparison how much each theory affects the spread of ideas? Would be a fun take on furthering this topic.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. What an apt use of example to demonstrate the coming together of the theories. I do agree it’s not just one, but a combination of all that cause any content or ideas to spread like wildfire, as you put it! Nicely written.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Gangnam style made Kpop become known worldwide, people in western countries were also influenced by Kpop. However I feel that it was also because he understood what everyone wanted, be it catchy, entertaining, and easy dance moves to make it an iconic move that everyone would remember and is easy to mimic!

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    1. Hmm, its a definite possibility! PSY himself may have realised that it was time to put a new spin on things to give KPOP a whole new look! It definitely did put KPOP on the map and helped the concept to spread ever further!

      Liked by 1 person

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