"viral" (was RE: Licensing options for firmware)

John Cowan jcowan at reutershealth.com
Wed Apr 6 17:50:07 UTC 2005

Joichi Ito scripsit:

> I think "viral" doesn't work. It has some very specific means in the
> marketing world. Virality is basically the rate at which a product or meme
> is propagated. If it is greater than one, it increases and a virality of
> less than one slowly dies. You derive this number from the probability that
> an infected person transmits to others, the number of people they transmit
> to and the probability that a recipient becomes infected. Virality is a
> variable and doesn't express very well the point I don't think.

What is more, outside that world it has drawn to it (or rather has had from
the beginning: the Latin word _virus_ means among other things 'poison' and
'slime', which is why it has no Latin plural) some pretty negative connotations.

They do not preach                              John Cowan
  that their God will rouse them                jcowan at reutershealth.com
    A little before the nuts work loose.        http://www.ccil.org/~cowan
They do not teach                               http://www.reutershealth.com
  that His Pity allows them                         --Rudyard Kipling,
    to drop their job when they damn-well choose.   "The Sons of Martha"

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