“Everyone here has the sense that right now is one of those moments when we are influencing the future.”

                                                 – Steve Jobs

Ravaging the populous of ancient Greece for nearly six years between 430 and 424 BC; it is thought to have infected and eradicated nearly one-third of Athens, including their beloved leader Pericles. The balance of world power slowly shifted from the Greeks to Spartans and history course corrected.

The thriving colony of Jamestown, Virginia was stricken by an uncontrolled outbreak in 1607. By 1624 more than six thousand had died and English colony was nearly silenced.

For every soldier killed on the battlefield during the Great Civil War, two others died as a result of disease. The Union army reportedly lost more than thirty thousand to this particular plague alone.

In 1891, nearly 1½% of the population of Chicago fell victim to the disease. In the early 1900’s an outbreak threatened the densely populated city of New York.

In 1907, it was discovered that a person could be infected with this deadly disease, but show no symptoms and experience no ill effects. These feared members of the population quickly became known as “carriers”. Although appearing completely healthy, they were cursed with the ability to silently infect anyone with whom they interacted.

The most famous carrier was Mary Mallon. Having no reason to believe that she was sick; she avoided the authorities and worked under assumed names while infecting numerous families in the early 1900’s. She was finally taken into custody in 1909 and sentenced to a life of exile on a small island in New York City’s East River. History dubbed her Typhoid Mary.

We share things with others every day. In most cases our activity is without intention or purpose. It may pass silently under the radar of productivity, but we’re very consistent. Inadvertently, we share some part of everything that we are with everyone we encounter throughout each day. We pass it along. We give it away. We are carriers. We are ALL carriers!

We live in an amazing time. Information can be sent to the other side of the globe in a matter of seconds. Recorded images and audio can be posted by a single person one minute and viewed by thousands the next. The behavior has become so commonplace that it has its own terminology – going viral. Could any other moniker be more appropriate?

Every year or so, a document circulating through the social media world entitled: How Warren Buffet Would Fix Congress. There’s a good chance you’ve seen it at least once and possibly multiple times. Containing just enough truth to seem plausible and touching just enough hot topics to ruffle feathers, it fires up seething coals and gains traction every time. Even though most of the information in the post has been verified as a fabrication, it gets quickly passed along and shared. After all, who doesn’t want to give our government a piece of their mind these days?

There is formidable power in social media –

  • If we know the person posting (and connect with their posts on a regular basis), we are more likely to give ear to future postings.
  • If a personal sentiment from the posting party has been added to the original post, we are more apt to read or click on the post that they have shared.
  • If it seems to have credibility or strikes a nerve (such as a perspective on a hot topic from a respected voice like Warren Buffett), we entertain the thought of passing it along to our circle of contacts.


“The Law of Compounding
is the most powerful force
in the universe.”

                                 – Albert Einstein (attributed)


Even though passed along by a small percentage, with each escalation the numbers soar until it eventually becomes viral. It doesn’t take much effort to share things these days. A couple clicks, a few key strokes, an added word or two to make it personal, and your circle of friends are afforded the opportunity to keep the ball rolling. And, once in motion, it doesn’t take much to pick up speed.

The sharing of a social media post that happened to catch our attention is but one example among many. The list of things we share with others on a daily basis is too long to compile. A smile, a thought, an emotion, a worthy cause, an opportunity too good to pass up, a warning of something to avoid at all costs; we naturally pass things along to others.

Like it or not, we are all carriers. It is a part of who we are and whether we view it as a gift or a curse matters little. Our role is cast and our assignment will never be rescinded.

In reality, you are a living, breathing, walking, talking chain letter and your influence reaches farther than you could ever imagine. Substance is the only variable in play.

In this respect, the whole has never been equal to the sum of the parts. It is greater to the point of being immeasurable. So, my dear carrier . . . what are you spreading?

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