Making ideas “sticky”

This has been making the rounds on the book tour: Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die. I’m interested in the premise, that one can make an idea “sticky,” that is memorable, compelling, and easily understandable. This is something we need in the library (and archives, and museum) community. We live in our complicated world of acronyms and shared history. We suffer from what the authors term “the curse of knowledge.” To make our story understandable and compelling to others, we need to come up with some “sticky” stories.

An excerpt from the book defines “stickiness,” and “the curse of knowledge.” There’s a great illustration of the curse (of course!), which you can find if you scroll down to or search for the phrase “tappers and listeners.” I’ve requested the book from my library, so hopefully I can give a full book report soon. I look forward to making our ideas sticky, for more delicious and memorable consumption.

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3 Comments

  1. I’ve been fascinated by “sticky” also, learning from my friends in the interactive media world. Is it just another buzz word or is it the intangible killer app that museum content needs to be appealing and keep visitors engaged? I wrote a post about the differences between “sticky,” “viral,” and “good” content in museums that you might be interested in…

  2. The only thing that makes me nervous about stickiness is the lowest common denominator that kind drive in terms of discourse. We see this affect on the web and amongst blogs in the preponderance of top 10 lists and link baiting. The desire to increase site visits by manipulating “stickiness” has its costs as well.

  3. From a biological framework, there is Susan Blackmore’s The Meme Machine. The notion of an idea as virus obviously ties into viral marketing.

    From a social aspect, I bet there is something that Rob King and his predecessors did and are doing within Social Informatics.

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