Imitation and ReTweets

Frank mentioned a great Eric Hoffer quote a few days ago:

“When people are free to do as they please, they usually imitate each other.”

“Nearly every form of viral sharing that I’ve looked into includes some form of social proof. Humans have a natural tendency toward imitation, especially of those who they assume have more or better information than themselves. The likelihood of a tweet being ReTweeted increases dramatically each time it is ReTweeted.”

While I’d like to know more about the “especially of those who they assume have more or better information than themselves” part (it seems to be heading down that influencer road again that Mark has warned us about), it’s the last line that sums it up so well. Essentially, ReTweets beget further ReTweets.

In addition to making stuff easier to share, the social web allows each of us to keep loosely connected to a greater number of people than would otherwise be possible. And, in the process, we’re finding new ways to copy each other. That’s just how us super-social apes work…

Previously posted on

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