Will this post go viral?
August 1, 2011 4 Comments
The spread of ideas and purchases is often assumed to be viral. Statistics from Facebook, twitter, and yahoo were collected and considered in a paper discussed here: http://messymatters.com/2011/07/31/viral/ which seems to suggest that social network effects for the most part are unimportant.
“The vast majority of adoptions occur either without peer-to-peer influence or within one step of an independent adopter,” as shown in this diagram:
“…the dominant diffusion event, accounting for between 70% to 95% of cascades, is the trivial one: an individual adopts the product in question and doesn’t convert any of their contacts. The next most common event, again in all six domains, is an independent adopter who attracts a single additional adopter. In fact, across domains only 1%-4% of diffusion trees extend beyond one degree.”
The first thought I had was that a small number of chains might be enormous, and hence there are dominant viral effects, but apparently that is not so (only 1-6% of adoptions were found to have occured more than one level away from the initiator).