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On Facebook over the last couple of weeks, everyone has been sharing a list of "10 Concerts" they've attended. The idea is to include one red herring concert in the list and see if your friends can guess which is the fake one.

It was an innocuous little game, very similar to other list-sharing games like "25 things you might not know about me," which made the rounds a few years ago. However this one seemed to strike a chord. 

Why do some conversation-starters take off like wildfire, while others just hang in the air like a bad pickup line?

As community managers, we want to know, because when we're creating programming or content for our community, we want it to be the wildfire kind.

Here are some reasons this type of content goes crazy:

  • Something safe to share - you're not disclosing nuclear codes or family secrets, it's just fun information.
  • People want to be allowed to brag - did you score elusive tickets to Springsteen in the 80's? Yeah you want to share that.
  • People love to reminisce - shared experiences are key to a strong community. Maybe your members want to get nostalgic over KC and the Sunshine Band.
  • It lends itself to follow-on questions - getting to know each other involves a back and forth conversation. This type of non-threatening disclosure encourages members to respond.
  • Including the "one lie" allows friends to show their insider knowledge of you and reinforces relationship bonds. "I know you hate Steely Dan!"
  • Not time-consuming to produce - perhaps most importantly, these types of posts take no time to write. It's a super low barrier to entry, and can easily be composed on your mobile device.
  • Lists are popular - we just can't escape that fact.

You don't want your community to become Buzzfeed, but you might want to include a little fun conversation-starter like the "10 concerts" game from time to time, even in a buttoned-down business community or intranet.

We're all people, even when we have our power suits on.

Oh, and here's my list...(there's one red herring)

  1. Keane
  2. Squeeze
  3. The Donnas
  4. David Bowie
  5. Elvis Costello
  6. Crowded House
  7. KC and the Sunshine Band
  8. Rick Springfield
  9. Ricky Martin
  10. The Police

First reply to guess the fake one gets bragging rights (family members are not allowed to participate).

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