Last week, Pokémon Go went live at the app store. Within a few days, it had gone viral. And within a week, pretty much everyone with a smartphone is playing it!
I first heard about the game through some Vine videos I watch. Then Monday, I read some articles about it. When I left for the the day, I saw two groups of teens – one group inside the library, and one walking around outside the library – playing.
Then I started sending emails, some other staff did the same thing, and we figured out a couple of ways to respond to the phenomenon of Pokémon Go (my library has five Poké Stops!).
Pokémon Go is a fun, fast-spreading viral trend right now. Will it last? I’d guess Nintendo hopes so! It definitely won’t be the last viral trend to appear.
So – how should you respond to these viral trends? Here are six steps to responding to Viral Trends:
- Trend watch. Listen to the news, read trend-watching blogs, etc. They will help you keep up-to-date on what’s trending.
- Play with it. If it’s an app, download it and figure it out. I walked around the library, catching Pokémon, and discovering where all our Poké Stops were and what they did. If it’s a book, read it (think Harry Potter). You need to be familiar with it – familiar enough to tell the boss what’s going on.
- Alert staff. Figure out if you need to let other staff know what’s going on. For example, I sent an email to our managers (we share evening shift duty) explaining what the game was, and why they might see roving groups of teens with their smartphones out.
- Brainstorm responses. Get a group of staff together and quickly figure out some small next steps. You don’t want to spend a week (or two, or three) figuring out a nicely-crafted response. It’s viral, so you will miss the boat! At my library, we did some quick brainstorming.
- Actually do something. Out of our brainstorming came some social media posts sharing that the library has some Poké Stops, and we followed that with a blog post on our website. We also discovered Lures, which draw more people to Poké Stops.
- Figure out if there’s more to come. It’s possible that Pokémon Go will allow businesses to buy ads/sponsored locations. We’ll look into that when/if it happens.
I love what a church down the street did – check out the sign in the image below. Free water for Pokémon Go players! Those are my ideas on responding to viral trends. What are yours? Please share!