“You have to see this!”
Well before computers were making our lives easier by making them harder, people reacted to content. Word of mouth was simply that: people spread the word to each other by talking (talking was an ancient method of communication where two or more people stood in the same room, and then by things called telephones and used voices to convey messages back and forth. Sounds crazy, I know, but apparently back then is was perfectly acceptable. Crazy pioneers)
Things shifted in the mid/late 90’s where we started to scale word-of-mouth with the use of email. We could now tell multiple people without having to re-tell the story and if we really wanted to be the talk of the town, we simply “CC’d” everyone, so all the replies went back to everyone again! Since I run a “viral marketing” company, whatever that means, my job was to ensure it was easy for our client’s projects were easy to pass around by viewers. The “tell-a-friend” script became popular until people started abusing it and it was a great way to get your domain blacklisted.