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Tony Hirst

Has anyone posted an equation for twitter virality yet?

Here's one for virality of facebook apps - slides 11-16. It seems a bit simplistic to me though?


Here's a more involved equation:


I guess the more complex consideration takes into account people already being 'infected', and, in the case of things like facebook applications and courses, the retention rate...?

In the twitter case, that's just a spread thing, I guess? If you consider a retweet like an invite, then you have to factor in how many people have already seen the tweet in terms of counting new infections, as well as how more or less likely people are to retweet depending on how many retweets of a tweet, if any, they havee seen, and who those RTs came from.

For example, if i get a tweet from someone whose followers I believe largely overlap mine, i may not retweet. But if the vector is someone on the fringe of my network, i may think i can add value by amplifying it to my network?

PS would another model for YOFL (or should that be 'year of distributed scholarship'?) be having a person (an editor 2.0) farm out ideas to the community an then aggregate and publish the result under shared authorship?

Sue Waters

Question - would that be your Friday 30th January or my Friday 30th January? So will that be tomorrow for me or the next day? Timezones really confuse me :)


I don't know Sue! - any Friday 30th, we'll keep it going over the day I guess anyway. You can be first in!

Jared Stein

I'm just beginning to mull this over, however what immediately comes to mind is the idea that there is "generalized" and "targeted" virality, and thus different ways to measure the success of each objective.

(I almost typed "virility"--I can see the conference preso title now: "Fostering Virality Virility in Learners")

Jennifer Jones

I'm honestly regretting ever using the word, "viral." There's got to be something better. What types of things do you think are worthy of spreading in this manner? How do we determine what is important enough to attempt to spread?


@Tony - I think the overlap of audiences is a contributing factor, and applies to blogs also eg there is no point me just linking to something that Downes has linked to, because my readership is likely a subset of his (although adding commentary is valid).
Could you expand on your farming out ideas proposal?
@Jared - this is why I put ideas out, to get input like this. I hadn't thought of targeted and generalised virality, but yes you're absolutely right. And yes, it is a bit close to virility - I expect to spam emails offering me all sorts of surgery soon.
@Jen - viral is okay if you accept it as a metaphor, since, like the first time you heard the term computer virus you instantly knew a lot about how they spread and their nature. So viral does capture some of the essence of the way some ideas spread. As an individual the threshold decisions you suggest are important. From the community perspective, we don't 'decide' what is important, some things just spread and others don't, which is where the viral notion separates it from something more top-down determined eg standards. PS yours was my 1000th comment on this blog, your prize is a meandering response.

AJ Cann

Personally, I hate the adjectival usage of the noun "virus", but that's just my inner pedant. I'm prepared to tolerate it in the marketing/internet context where it has established currency and meaning, but not in life sciences ;-)

1001? :-)


Check out this blog comment I once received about using "viral." http://injenuity.com/archives/66#comment-802

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