Microsoft Research's ViralSearch finds how things go viral

When a YouTube video of a Korean singer becomes a worldwide phenomenon, that's an example of a piece of content that has gone "viral."  But just how does a video, or a Twitter post, or anything connected to the Internet, spread beyond that original post to be seen by millions or tens of millions of people?

Microsoft Research is working on a project that examines just how something on the Internet can later be seen by a huge audience. It's called ViralSearch and it's revealed in, ironically, a new YouTube video. The video shows Jake Hofman, a researcher at Microsoft, explaining how ViralSearch allows Microsoft to search and navigate how content is spread across social media networks.

The video shows an example of how ViralSearch's interface works with Hofman looking at how a story on the Forbes.com website, centered on NBA basketball player Jeremy Lin. The Forbes.com Twitter page has over one million followers and a link to the story was posted to that Twitter account. However, the story didn't go much further than Forbes's own Twitter followers, judging from ViralSearch's branching tree interface.

Hofman then brings up another example of how something can truly go viral. In this case it's a video of a band performing a cover of a Gotye song. In this case, the video was spread by a number of different people, many of which introduced it to their own readers independently of any effort by the band. ViralSearch uses both a branching tree UI along with a collection of "bubbles" to show that this video has indeed gone viral as opposed to just being a popular video.

So how would this system be used by businesses or media companies? The video doesn't really go into that kind of speculation, but we can imagine that it could be used by media organizations to tailor their news stories and videos so that they have a better chance of going viral.

Source:  Microsoft Research on YouTube

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5 Comments

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Sometimes a viral phenomenon is generated spontaneously. However, most of the time is viral marketing where a marketing agency uses social network, tv, newspaper and radio for spread some marketing campaign.

It is pretty easy to identify what is a true viral versus a forged viral campaign : if it is featured in a regular tv show (specially in a news show) then, it is a marketing campaign.

For example, Harlem Shake is forged.

Also, true viral campaign usually start in site like 2chan, 4chan, 9gag and such, then later it spreads through social media.

Brony said,
Sometimes a viral phenomenon is generated spontaneously. However, most of the time is viral marketing where a marketing agency uses social network, tv, newspaper and radio for spread some marketing campaign.

It is pretty easy to identify what is a true viral versus a forged viral campaign : if it is featured in a regular tv show (specially in a news show) then, it is a marketing campaign.

For example, Harlem Shake is forged.

Also, true viral campaign usually start in site like 2chan, 4chan, 9gag and such, then later it spreads through social media.


[citation needed]
because this sounds like Grade A bull****.

Brony said,
For example, Harlem Shake is forged. [...] usually start in site like 2chan, 4chan, 9gag and such, then later it spreads through social media.

... umm, yeah... you need to stay in school.

There's just so much wrong with your ramble... like, everything.

This is pretty awesome! I can totally see how this will benefit media companies. Too bad it's usually the stupid things like Harlem Shake and Psy that go viral though, and this will sure show it lol.

"Cool" = "stupid" + "enthusiasm"
Psy is cool. Yeah the dance is stupid but he seems so happy as he does it that you can't help but enjoy it.