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On not going viral

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This week the reader is directed to Messy Matters to read up on research conducted by Sharad Goel, Duncan Watts and Dan Goldstein in which they hunted for traces of “viral” diffusion on six web platforms including Twitter, Facebook, and Yahoo!. The results run counter to mainstream intuition.


  1. zoltanctoth says:

    Do I interpret correctly? Is this the spread of a certain post, and the population is “every post”?

    If so, this makes no sense. Most of the e.g. tweets are not meant to go viral at all.

    August 2, 2011 @ 2:55 am

  2. dan says:

    zoltanctoth: See the paragraph in the linked-to post that begins “At this point you might wonder about the relatively rare trees not depicted above. What if, for example, one out of every thousand independent adopters spawned ginormous viral cascades?”

    August 2, 2011 @ 10:15 pm

  3. Mark Fasciano says:

    I like the visual representation of the data here. Would love to see a contrasting example of a site that has gone viral.

    August 2, 2011 @ 8:38 am

  4. dan says:

    Dr. Fasciano – I have some pics for you

    August 2, 2011 @ 10:16 pm

  5. Anatomy of an incident: Helicopter crash at UCT | Blue Light District says:

    […] But it takes the right kind of incident to actually warrant the viral spread of information.  As this article highlights, most of the information posted to popular social networks actually goes nowhere, in terms of […]

    August 4, 2011 @ 8:24 am

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