I really like Boomshine. It’s a simple, but fun, free casual game (I paid for the iOS version). Don’t try it out yet, though – wait a moment.
It’s a simple game (and free, on your PC; there’s also an iOS app): The playing field has several balls bouncing back and forth (anywhere from 5 – 60, depending on your level). You get to click. Once. Where you click, a large-ish circle appears, sticks around for a while, and disappears. Any of the balls that touch the circle become their own circle. Your goal is to convert a certain percentage of the balls these circular booms.
At early levels, it’s pretty easy – but it becomes almost exponentially harder for the last few levels. When you play, something interesting happens. It’s easy to “figure out” the ways the balls and booms 1 will interact on the first several levels. And then you’ll hit a level where that stops working. Instead of any coherent plan, you end up largely guessing where to click. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.
This is an accurate model of trying to get something to go “viral”.
There is a pattern and purpose behind Boomshine – but it quickly gets too complicated to consciously figure out. Social networking is the same way – except that it’s even more complicated. Quality – both of what you want to
go viral and quality of the relationships – varies. Rights restrictions. Time of day. How busy everyone is. Add your own real-world complications to make it all the more realistic.
Now that game would be impossible to win.
So rather than make yourself frustrated by something you cannot control (or worse, compromise yourself in pursuit of a goal you cannot reach), back off a little bit and let go. Relax. Because the one meaningful difference between Boomshine and real life is that you’re not limited to one “click”. You can create tons of material (clicks) and see what happens.
So quite worrying quite so much about perfecting your marketing skill, market what you can control, and make great stuff.
1Balls and booms. huh huh huh huh huh.–