A Meme is Born
The Meme is certainly spreading nicely in its second day of life. There are nearly 200 blogs participating that we know of — possibly more that we can’t see trackbacks for. Once Google indexes everything (in a few days to a few weeks), we should have a better idea of the true numbers.
So far the Meme has consistently been in the top 10 posts of the day on several key indices — including Daypop and Popdex. Meanwhile Technorati is still broken — their top list hasn’t changed — also their stats for blogs don’t seem to change.
An interesting stat: the Meme has moved up to the number 5 slot in Daypop — it’s gunning to overtake Matt Drudge who is still clinging onto number 4 against our onslaught. The Meme is even scoring higher than the hilarious spoof clips for White House West and Team America, even higher than the NY Times Big Expose, The Washington Post’s article on the The Kerry Doctrine and good lord, no it cannot be true: The Meme is even scoring higher than an article about Marc Canter who is the only guy on the Web as (more?) networked than Joi Ito (Marc is a member of the Meme, he helped start it spreading, in fact). So all in all the Meme is doing pretty well.
Rate of Spread
In terms of rate of spread, the Meme continues to spread at a rate of a few blogs an hour, which represents a lower percentage increase per hour given that there are now a lot more participants than in the beginning (we don’t know the precise numbers yet), but the real question is whether the rate of propagation is increasing. Theoretically, it should increase exponentially until saturation is reached. Given that there are more than a million blogs today (by some estimates) we know that saturation has not been reached. So we should expect continued exponential growth for quite some time. But only if the Meme spreads into more communities. We’ll have to give it some more time to see how this plays out. One possible reason for a slower-than-expected growth curve is that bloggers may not read and post that frequently, meaning that the Meme would spread in spurts rather than continuously. Nobody really knows how often bloggers read and post on average — but there should be a lag time. Some bloggers I know only catch up with their RSS subscriptions and blog every other week, so it could be that we see a long delayed-reaction cycle here. On the other hand, it might be that only some bloggers (namely, those who have any clue about what a “meme” is) understand what this experiment is about, and so that might self-select and limit participation. We’ll have to wait and see.
The Meme is global, but it hasn’t really colonized the rest of the world as densely as the USA. I wonder whether it will start moving in other (non-English speaking) countries, or if the language barrier is a gating factor. What do you think? Are there just not many bloggers in non-English countries?
If you think it will help, feel free to translate the Meme into your own languages if you want — maybe that will get it to spread better in your countries. If you want to translate the Meme and launch it in your language just remember to include the correct GUID and permalink or we won’t be able to find or track your meme with the rest of the results.
Another interesting thing: I haven’t noticed many LiveJournal users participating in the Meme. Maybe it hasn’t reached the LiveJournal community yet? LiveJournal is one of the larger blogging communities, so I would have expected a larger percentage of LiveJournal bloggers among the participants.
Regarding the GUID: We had a few debates and got lots of feedback about the size of the GUID, which orignially was too long (sorry!) to format nicely in some narrow column blog layouts. So anyway, I think we’ve worked out a compromise: We’ve modified the GUID to a smaller GUID, so people can just use the shorter GUID from now on. Feel free to update your post with the shorter version if you want to (see the original Meme post below for that), but it’s not required since we’ll be able to find your blog even if you use the old, longer GUID. We’ll just do a search on Google for pages that have either version of the GUID. Also note, the permalink is a bit long as well and won’t fit nicely in some narrow column layouts, but we should continue to use it as is so that we can see all the trackbacks for the Meme in one list. Also, if searching for the GUID fails at least we can then search for the permalink, which has not changed in various versions of the Meme. For better formatting of the permalink, instead of including the raw text version of the link, you can make it into an actual active link in your blog, which will cause it to take up less space.
The next thing will be to think about how this concept could be used for something useful. For example, distributing a more formal survey or poll across blogs this way — or to enable blogs to self-organize to join communities in a new way. Or aggregating content from blogs in a new way (for example, if everyone put the same GUID on their best essay, we could easily make a collection of “Best Essays from Weblogs” by simply searching for pages with the “Best Essay” GUID on them). This is sort of a reverse-directory — instead of listing in some central directory, you post your listings on your own blog and then they are aggregated by others in a more decentralized way. Anyway, these are just some random thoughts that I am pondering as I watch the Meme spread. I would enjoy hearing your own ideas about this. Maybe we can develop something interesting with this concept.
Anyway, let’s see how big this Meme can get! Go Meme, Go!