Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Lessons in Gangnam Style

Gangnam Style has captured imaginations around world. Go to the videos on YouTube if you have yet to experience this phenomenon.

The performance by Psy and his entourage exemplifies both what and why people "seek and share" in social media.

Now, Gangnam Style as become a meme, with new videos by Psy and others appearing on a regular basis. They present a classic case study in viral diffusion patterns as shown in these results for a Google Trends search for the term Gangnam Style.


Notice the ascending diffusion pattern composed of a sequence of layered Pareto distributions. The Pareto distribution is the "unit form" for the diffusion of an idea placed on the Web at one point it time.

In the graph, you can see how the intermittent infusion of new sources adds to the accumulation of interest over time. It will be interesting to watch how this story continues to unfold.

Here's an updated chart as of November 22, 2012. As of this date, there have been 1.1 billion visitors to Psy's YouTube channel, where the Gangnam Style video has been viewed over 800 million times.


You can see the continuing introduction of new sources of interest. These consist of new video posts on Psy's YouTube channel as well as posts made on other highly visible websites. You can also observe a cyclical character of peaks and valleys within the overall pattern that seem to accord with weekly patterns in search behavior.

On November 7, Psy explained how his Gangnam Style video become viral in his remarks at Oxford Union.

video

Can Psy's success be attained by others? Yes, to a degree, but such levels of success cannot necessarily be "manufactured." Audiences will gravitate to original expression, not corporate replication.

On December 17, nearly a half year after its first release, the lastest search on Google Trends shows the Gangnam Style video continues to garner worldwide interest. 


This latest graph shows daily interest levels holding within 80 percent of the peak reached about three months after the video's release.

For more perspective on psychological theory and the development of persuasive advertising, please see Strategic Power of the Theory of Planned Behavior.

                Copyright © 2012 by John Eighmey. All Rights Reserved.


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