Donald Trump gestures and declares "you're fired!" at a rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, June 17, 2015
© Reuters/Dominick Reuter
Design viral, méthodologie pour un buzz citoyen
© HEAD – Genève

Design viral, méthodologie pour un buzz citoyen

March 2017 to February 2019

Projet led by: Jérôme Baratelli, Professor, Head of Department Visual Communication
Team : Caroline Bernard (Lily range le chat), Damien Guichard, Aurélien Mabilat, Catherine Brand 
Funding: HES-SO, HEAD – Genève

On social networks nowadays a large quantity of messages are being shared in proportions that largely outgrow usual means of broadcasting: This is referred to as “virality”. The Internet is a place where discriminatory speech has become commonplace, giving rise to a huge number of hostile messages. Consequently, in a time when the success of a specific phenomenon is measured by the number of clicks and shares, a team of researchers from Geneva University of Art and Design has come up with responsible communication strategies.

Virality is the capacity an event has of being passed on from one person to the next, like a virus. Initially, a buzz (a word that first refers to the buzzing of an insect) is a marketing technique that is meant to generate word-of-mouth before the official launch of a product.

Nowadays, the word has been popularised, especially on social networks. Creating a buzz has become a standard expression to describe a phenomenon that spreads like a virus.

Using the dynamics of virality, the team of researchers decided to produce communication tools that would help broadcast contents capable of raising public awareness of civic causes. By occupying social networks in areas where these causes are either rarely shared or are prey to complete disinformation, the researchers hope to open new routes of democratic communication in areas where “traditional” communication strategies fail and find no echo. Thus, this project aims to articulate two topical themes: virality and citizen involvement.

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