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JUL 18, 2014 - The Week

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How social media changed our definition of 'social'

This week, just over two centuries ago, Phineas T. Barnum was born. Barnum, founder of Barnum & Bailey Circus and a sly showman, delighted in attention-grabbing hoaxes. In one of his infamous tricks, he duped the media into printing a story of a mermaid specimen, actually a young monkey's head and torso tied to a fish tail. Unsurprisingly, the saying "there's no such thing as bad publicity" is generally attributed to him.Contemporary marketers would describe Barnum's stunts as going viral. Online, to "go viral" means to break away from the noise and capture the collective attention of ... Read More

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