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What Pigeons Can Teach Us About The Internet

The other day I had some errands to run so I finished them and then finding
myself near a park, I decided to get a roll and some coffee, take 10
minutes and sit in a park, maybe even feed the pigeons.

And it was there that I learned something about social media marketing.  In
fact, I think the Pigeons invented social media.

As I started on my roll, I realized that it wasn't all that hungry and
decided to eat just one half, the top half with the seeds in it, of

It was after the coffee and the roll were deliciously consumed that I
noticed that there were no birds in the park and no pigeons.  About then I
broke off a piece of the bottom half of the roll and tossed it into the
walking path.  No more than 5 seconds passed when a small bird flew down
and landed next to the piece of roll. As it began pecking at it, another
few birds landed, then a pigeon or two also landed.  By the time I tore the
roll up and distributed these pieces across the walking path, no less than
50 to 75 birds and pigeons had found it. The whole process took less than
five (5) minutes.

So here is what I learned. I put some information out on the “bird
network” (ONE piece of bread) and this “post” was picked up by the leader
who swooped in and checked it out. The leader in turn "retweeted" this
information to his buddies and they in turn sent information out to their
individual “Bird networks.”

And just like that, the transaction that I started (sending valuable
information to my target audience) was picked up by other birds in the
network and retransmitted to more and more birds.  And so my inventory was

Before the computer, before the internet, before Facebook, birds and
pigeons communicated in this way, so did people. In the birds’ case, it was
word of beak.  In our case it was word of mouth.

It still is.

So how will you be communicating your inventory availability (tweet,

What do you think?

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Comment by Dennis Bergendorf on November 21, 2011 at 5:18am

Seems to me "word of mouth" was the original form of "going viral." Try as a business might, it can't get a video or whatever content to "go viral." Only the people who are sufficiently amused or entertained can do so (remember Richie Allen's choice of music at the D*** Weber Playoffs--Baby Monkey? That video was seen/downloaded by several million folks). The same with word of mouth. Only if your business was exceptionally good or exceptionally disappointing would people talk about it. 

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