Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Viral Distribution Process

Susan Boyle's video from Britain's Got Talent appeared on April 11. The latest report from the Viral Video Chart shows the video spread rapidly and now has moved into the "Long Tail" phase on the Web.

This video has set the standard for rapid and extensive viewing. As of today, the Viral Video Chart reports 135,153,354 viewings of the video, as well as 12,575 blog posts and 460,658 comments.

Here's a look at their chart in the fashion of Rogers' Diffusion of Innovations. This is the actual distribution, however, not a Normal Distribution as used in the Rogers typology.

At Phase Change 1, you can see the suggestion of an early inflection point and rapid acceleration. Phase Change 2 involves the transition to a continuing lower level of blog posting interest. This pattern is often described as the Long Tail phase of the diffusion process.

It took about three days for Sara Boyle's video to undergo a phase change to highly accelerated diffusion. The peak occurred in about seven days. The phase change marking the beginning of the transition to the Long Tail took place in about 10 to 12 days. The video has been a phenomenon and its diffusion pattern provides a basis of comparison and reflection when thinking about the role of blogs in the diffusion of viral videos.

The points of comparison involve the timing and slope changes seen in the two phases identified in my chart. The timing and extent of the peak point is also a key consideration. Of course, there are many other factors, such as the audience involved and the video content.

Copyright © 2009 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.

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