Traveling in Sin, our memoir, is available on Amazon.

Writers: Are You Contagious Yet?

I did not realize when I picked Penn (after being admitted early decision in December 1984), that class would still be in session in 2013 while traveling on a local bus in Nepal! During this trip, I read Contagious: Why Things Catch On
because as a traveler, teacher, and writer it sounded extremely compelling. I too wanted to learn how to “create contagious content!”

As Wharton marketing professor, Jonah Berger, explains in the book, “putting up a Facebook page or tweeting doesn’t mean anyone will notice or spread the word. 50% of YouTube videos have fewer than five hundred views. Only one-third of 1 percent get more than 1 million.” We actually have several videos over five hundred views and our We Said Go Travel YouTube channel, so that was good to learn. It is incredible to me that while on sabbatical in Asia, I can study with the award-winning Wharton “Iron Prof” and learn exactly the lessons I need next for my personal and professional life!

I also recently read  Made to Stick, by Chip and Dan Heath. Chip Heath was Berger’s graduate school mentor and while that book was helpful–Contagious’ “six key STEPPS” gave me new tools to propel my professional site to higher numbers and more views by using “the six principles of contagiousness: products or ideas that contain Social Currency and are Triggered, Emotional, Public, Practically Valued and wrapped into Stories.”

As a writer, the final emphasis on stories is of particular interest to me. Berger says: “Stories are an important source of cultural learning that help us make sense of the world. Information travels under the guise of what seems like idle chatter.” I hope that sharing our journeys will inspire others and soon be more and more contagious encouraging all to participate in our global community of travelers and writers.

I recommend getting a copy of Professor Berger’s book so you can “build a Social currency-laden, Triggered, Emotional, Public, Practically Valuable Trojan Horse, but don’t forget to hide your message inside. Make sure your desired information is so embedded into the plot that people cannot tell the story without it.”

Reading this book, I realized that our recent Inspiration Travel Writing Contest had so much traction as we used triggers (the contest ended on Valentine’s Day), emotions, and financial incentives. I will put my learning to work and hope that our Independence Travel Writing Contest (running from May 11 to July 4, no entry fee, and $1000usd in CASH PRIZES) will be even bigger.

Thank you to the Penn community for my past and continuing education! It is phenomenal that nearly twenty-five years after graduation I can still learn from Penn Profs and in a new digital way. As our Penn motto states, “We will find a way or we will make one.” Thank you, Professor Berger, for new tools for building a contagious community.

This article first appeared in FRANKLY PENN.

More resources from Jonah Berger: CLICK HERE

 

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About

Lisa Niver Rajna, M.A. Education. is a passionate writer, educator, social media ninja, speaker and global citizen who has traveled to over one hundred countries and six continents. She is the co-author of Traveling in Sin. You might find her underwater, traveling to an exotic location, teaching in the classroom or in print about social media, science education, lifelong learning, books, and travel. Recently on National Television as a science teacher on the show Career Day, she was also a 2012 nominee for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching. Niver Rajna writes for many online and offline publications including National Geographic, the Huffington Post, the Guardian and the Jewish Journal. She and her husband, George, are spending a second sabbatical year in Asia.

Comments
2 Responses to “Writers: Are You Contagious Yet?”
  1. Sandra D says:

    This article is so inspiring. I’m just starting off my blog site blog where I am hoping to inspire and motivate people to go out and travel.

    I find it interesting why people travel as the different motives have. I hope through my experiences, advice and thoughts to pass on my passion to other people.

    Thanks

    Sandra

    • Sandra, Hello! Thank you for your comments. I really enjoyed Jonah’s book. I highly recommend it. Good luck with your new site. I hope you will write for us and think about entering our Travel Writing Contest!
      Lisa

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