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Twitter is one of the most interesting and powerful tools on the Internet. It’s real simple really. You type in 140 character messages and your followers respond. Or not. But, like anything, it can be used for good or bad.

One user decided to play a hoax and tweeted “RIP Jackie Chan.” The viral response was spectacular.

Tzvi Balbin, using Malcolm Gladwell’s tipping point philosophy, explains how this happened. I think he’s stretching it by saying that all the Twitterers who retweeted the message are salesmen, but I agree with his analysis overall. He even manages to pull in Rudy Giuliani to make his point.

When it comes to viral marketing, Twitter is an impressive tool. One simple message sent to the right person at the right time can lead to a domino effect. Get your message in front of the connectors within your niche and if they like it you can bet a large percentage of their audience will like it too. Viral marketing almost always involves reaching the most influential people to help you spread your message.

@forumn00b piggybacked on the authority of @tweetmeme, a Twitter account with more than 60,000 followers. Of course, popularity itself is not an indicator of viral success. Your message has to be the right message for the audience. If you do it right, viral marketing can set off a social media frenzy. That’s what you’re looking for.

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