Summary of The Social Organism

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The Social Organism book summary
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  • Innovative
  • Applicable
  • Eye Opening


Digital media experts Oliver Luckett and Michael J. Casey focus on one intriguing concept: They apply biology – the workings of evolution, immunology and epidemiology – to explain how social networks behave and adapt. The analogy resonates and may impel you to rethink how you regard social networks and their impact on human culture. Luckett and Casey also provide some useful tips – mainly in Chapter Five. Though the book uses too much Silicon Valley slang, the authors offer a fresh perspective you can use in formulating social media strategy and tactics. getAbstract recommends their analysis to academics, leaders, strategists, and anyone seeking a deeper understanding of a phenomenon that exerts a universal and constant influence.

About the Authors

Thought leader Oliver Luckett builds digital media strategies for Hollywood actors and global organizations. Prolific author Michael J. Casey advises MIT’s Media Labs in digital currency. 



A Living Thing

The network of social media works like a living thing. Its cells are the people who create and share ideas in posts, articles, videos and other content. Successful ideas replicate and spread across the networks like viruses. As the complexity of biological organisms evolved – from amoebas to human beings – the social organism evolved from a handful of emails a few decades ago to countless memes reaching billions of people. Its pervasiveness means you must understand and leverage it or face gradual oblivion, yet the complexity of its channels baffle many people.

A Meme Is a Successful Idea

A “meme” – a term Richard Dawkins coined in 1976 – is anything that conveys an idea. A highly successful meme can carry an idea that reaches millions of people. Ideas that replicate morph into memes and spread further, changing the culture in small but meaningful ways – just as successful viruses burst out from their host cells, infecting other cells and changing the organism. Organized religion was among the first groups to understand the power of memes, as seen in its use of bells, powerful imagery and text, like the Bible...

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