Contagious Behaviour on the Viral Web


From startups to starlets, people have embraced social media as the wave of the future… Brands post ads, aspiring musicians post videos, and small businesses post deals… If they can get people to talk about their idea or share their content, it will spread through social networks like a virus, making their product instantly popular along the way. – Jonah Berger, Contagious: Why Things Catch On

We’ve all used social media to view and share one thing or another – from funny videos, to online petitions, to status updates on how we’re feeling. This activity- and discussion-filled workshop will get your students responding to and thinking critically about this behaviour, examining the subtle and not-so-subtle effects of the viral videos, memes, social campaigns, and advertisements they share. This workshop is adaptable for students at either the elementary or secondary school level, and will leave them with a better sense of how to act as digital citizens to positively impact themselves, their peers, their local communities, and the Web itself.

Learning Objectives:

1.    Become more mindful and aware of our thoughts, feelings, and taken-for-granted behaviours while online, and also of how our online presence and actions can affect the thoughts, feelings and behaviours of others.
2.    Understand why ideas and viral content spread, and how everyone from multi-national corporations to activists are taking advantage of these new communications channels and their associated predictable trends.
3.    Explore the exciting ways in which technology can make positive behaviours contagious, and extend the reach of our natural human empathy farther than was ever before possible.

[Media Literacy Workshop designed by Liz Schulze + Hayley Gauvin]