Meme Update: The Meme is already global and the rate of growth is showing signs of exponential increase. It’s made the Daypop top list, also same with Blogdex. It’s made its way onto several early-adopter sites and lists. Already the results are interesting. One thing that is clear is that there is quite a lag time in Blogspace: This applies not just to blogs, but also to aggregation sites and search sites — which don’t update nearly as often as one might think.
It seems that certain bloggers read and post much more frequently than others — we could call their blogs “hot zones,” to borrow a term from epidemiology.
The hot zone blogs are the blogs that are most interesting to read — they have their fingers on the pulse so to speak — they are where memes are born and vectored first. What’s interesting is that these hot zone blogs are not necessarily the most well-known or most popular blogs. In fact, I am surprised to see that some of the more well-known blogs have not got the Meme yet! So this is interesting — the blogs that are most on top of current trends are not necessarily those that are the most popular.
From the hot zone blogs, next we should expect to see “second wave” blogs pick up the trend, which is how it will go mainstream. The hot zones are the key though — they are the blogs we should all be reading if we are interested in tracking early-stage trends, before they have become mainstream. How do we define a “hot zone” blog? It should be a blog that picks up memes early, but also has a significant impact on the spread of the meme — a blog that results in lots of other blogs posting the meme.
Once this experimental data set gets large enough we should be able to compute, for each blog that participated, the number of downstream blogs that directly and indirectly got the meme from it. From this we should be able to compute exactly which blogs are the key “hot zones” in the processSocial tagging: Biology > Memes & Memetics > Weblogs
Reading this post the word “memestream” came to my mind. (Not that the world needs new words — then again, googling it I already get several thousand results.) It would be the kind of space a level higher then the “hot zone” (nice concept which I will remember) which takes the meme to a very popular blog to finally give it immense growth. Something like Boingboing, Slashdot, or Wired.
Once Google hits on the meme (which should happen around Wednesday) I will see how I can mine this experiment.
Cool Philipp, let me know what you come up with! It would be very interesting to show each blog that participated and the number of direct and indirect blogs that got the meme from it. And then perhaps a ranking of the blogs based on that.
I think there’s another concept that needs to be involved here and that is influence vs. blogger bandwidth. There are highly influential people who don’t have time, energy or inclination to jump on every new meme. I hypothesize you’ll see multiple bursts of activity: the hot zones who post prolifically but less discriminately and influencers (mavens? what’s the Tipping Point term to use here?) who cause a wave of attention when it merits posting in their blogs.
I think there will be sites who are good meme-spreaders, hot zones read by other hot zones, but tipping points might be heralded by those sites who offer more quality than quantity (Let’s call this the “If Michael Sippey is writing about it, I should pay attention.” phenomenon).
Good point, Dinah. It’s true influence plays a role in this. However, I have a theory that a lot of the more “influential” bloggers are really finding things on less influential blogs and simply reposting them.
Hey, I resemble that remark.
Right, Nova, but my point is that there are two “bangs” as stuff spreads: hot zones, which are most influential on other hot zones, and (mavens?), which are the ones more likely to cause a meme to transition from just “hey look at this” sorts of posts to wider discussion, changed company strategies, and other more significant long-term effects.
Yeah, the mavens are key I agree, but getting them to pick something up is difficult. Perhaps by linking hot zones well enough we can circumvent the mavens so that memes can spread equally widely without needing their endorsement.