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Steps 2 and 3: Why Jokes Spread (a Qualitative Value Model and Diagnosis)

Instead of building a quantitative value model as in the mailing example, we build a qualitative one that lists the benefits of and drawback to "offline" joke spreading. Typically, when building a qualitative value model, the diagnoses (WBE Step 3) is combined with the valuing (WBE Step 2), as is demonstrated next.

It's fairly apparent why jokes spread in the previously illustrated manner. At least one person finds the joke funny. That person has a group of friends who, being friends and having similar interests, will probably find the joke funny as well. Those friends, in turn, have a different group of friends, coworkers, family members, or other associates who likely will find the joke funny as well. The key is that people associate with other people that have similar interests. They know that their associates have certain interests and will find the joke funny. They tell the joke to those associates, whom they think will find it funny. As long as people are in a situation where they can retell the joke, and as long as they remember the joke and they deliver it properly—punch line and all—it will spread.

Next, let's ask ourselves the opposite question: "What prevents a joke from effectively spreading?" The answer to that question as well as the previous one will help us identify ways of using technology to support spreading jokes—or, more generally, ways of using technology to help spread content more effectively.

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