The Viral Me starts off like a generic beginner’s guide to Web 2.0 on the web, and I was set to disregard it as a fluff piece, but it gets quite compelling and deep at the end.

By the middle of the article, it starts discussing your public profile on the internet. I share the same view and have long practiced it. I don’t try and hide myself on the internet using a variety of privacy filters and permissions. Instead I publish a lot about myself to everyone in the world! I do consciously filter what I publish to make sure that I am aware of what I’m revealing and that everyone isn’t aware of the truly private information.

The most interesting point in the article I think is this:

Now that the social layer has been built, some people say the next layer will be the game layer. The game layer will install game mechanics in everything, and game mechanics are a way to manipulate human behavior. The optimists say that we can use game mechanics to manipulate ourselves to be better—nicer, more productive, not as fat—and that the companies who figure out how to install that layer will be the next Facebooks. Here’s how Rahul explains it: “The biggest trend in Web applications right now is adding game design. With the theory of game design, you want a curve like this: increasingly large payoffs at random but increasingly spaced intervals. So the first payoff is very small, and the next payoff is a little bigger, and the next one… To begin with, you get a payoff one out of five actions, then it’s one out of twenty, then it’s one out of fifty—but those intervals have to be random. That is the key to human addiction.

Here’s a bonus topic:

I’d wager that of all the companies I’ve mentioned in this article, the one that freaks you out the most is Swipely. The place where you give it access to your credit card and it starts sharing all your purchases with your “friends.” I mean, let’s start with “give it access to your credit card.” But there’s a business that freaks people out more than Swipely. It’s called Blippy. (I know, I know: You might think that Internet companies might try not naming themselves something nonsensical that implies lots of exclamation points.) Blippy is like Swipely with one big functional difference. Blippy displays how much money you spent on something. If you buy a $365 sweater at Barneys, your Blippy friends will know you bought a $365 sweater at Barneys.

I can actually see a great use for a site like this in sharing bargains, rather than showing off your expensive purchases.