Say what?  Got to thinking about multilevel marketing recently.  Some friends of ours wanted to meet with us about a “business opportunity”.  Spidey’s senses were certainly tingling but Mary said yes and set a date.

Now, they are good people that I like and their intentions were well placed — and the company and its products seemed just fine — but no matter how you looked at it, it was still one of those tiered structures where you prospered by getting more people involved in the business.  Such a process just did not resonate with Mary and I.  We didn’t join…but I wish our friends success with the business!

I’ve sat through a number of these presentations through the years.  Only once did I ever “sign up”…and then only to get the products for a discount.  I never tried to develop my “downstream” business.  If others like this kind of multilevel structure, that’s fine, more power to you.  I just have never feel totally positive about my profits being driven by my building a pyramid of people underneath me.  At some point, someone sits at the bottom of the pyramid and is never able to get back their investment.  I can’t seem to get that inequity out of my mind.

All of this reminds me of those “chain letters” that you used to periodically receive before the days of email. Do you remember them?  You were instructed to send something –money, a book or whatever–to the person at the top of a list of names and addresses on the letter.  You were to then take off their name and address , add yours to the bottom of the list and then copy and mail the letter to 3 friends. The idea was that in a few weeks, you would receive a bunch of money or books or whatnot in the mail.

There was always a threat on the letter “not to break the chain”.  It always told the cautionary tale of someone who once broke the chain and something really bad happened to them–an anvil dropped on their head or their spouse ran away with the circus or something equally unfortunate.  I always did consider those scary consequences before throwing the letters away.  And, for a brief moment,  I always felt bad for the people right above me in the chain who sent along their money or whatever to the names on their letter before I assisted them in hitting the bottom of the pyramid.

I think chain e-mails must still exist somewhere in virtual land.  Luckily I don’t get them.  It’s all too easy to hit that “delete” key though—but I would have to stop and think about the personal hex I was possibly putting upon myself by clicking they key.  I might not win Powerball this week. The horror.

Interestingly though, we do have a new form of the pyramid in the virtual world — when we forward on those cute kitty cat videos and other amazing online stuff to our friends and family.  This new multilevel marketing platform doesn’t require that I pay anything “upstream”, so it’s easier to jump into the sharing.  And, it’s easier to get out of the pyramid too….no threats of bad luck for not sending your buddies that video of the cat using the toilet or the husband falling off the ladder.

Going “viral” is now a goal of many marketers –trying to find just what content is so compelling that we feel that we must pass it along to our contacts….and they to theirs….and so on down the pyramid until it runs its course.  Go Google the phrase “how to go viral” and you will find a whole slew of articles designed to help you get that competitive edge for your message to be passed along over and over and over and over.

Here are some of the characteristics they say you will find in most things that go viral –content that inspires awe, that brings about an emotional response, that contains something unexpected,  that provides a perceived value for having experienced and passed along, is seen as making our lives better, is timely, allows connections between people, tells a story, is done as a video, doesn’t over-market a product.

All of which brings me to peace, love and oneness–to my way of thinking, these things inspire awe, invite emotion, give us value, aren’t really a product that’s being marketed and would obviously make our lives better. They certainly foster connections between us and given the state of the world would be very timely….yet to many people something that would also be very unexpected.

Peace, love and oneness expanding in our world would certainly be a story to re-tell over and over and  deserve to go viral.  All we need is the video?

Of course, it’s up to each of us to pass along the idea of peace, love and oneness in our own lives and in the relationships we have with others.  Each of us needs to keep the love chain going.  I do remember one person who broke the chain and forgot to spread the message of peace, love and oneness.   They ended up with a live full of fear and violence and a false sense of being separate from one another.  Don’t let that happen to you!

Mark Gilbert

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Check out all of Mark Gilbert’s books—available at Amazon. Click here to visit his Author Page. This includes his recent one Our Spiritual Rights and Responsibilities. In this book, he offers what he suggests are the 5 basic rights we all possess by virtue of our being these spiritual beings on planet Earth — and our 2 responsibilities we all hold in relation to one another! Check it out!