It's not that the scientists found the message played no role in the selection process, but it was the mechanisms of competition and the economization of attention that were sufficient for them to generate a complex information landscape in which a number of different meme spreading patterns could be defined. And excluding either social network structure or user finite attention as key ingredients in the information diffusion model led to results that were inconsistent with the empirical data they had.
"At a statistical level, we found that it is not necessary to include external explanations like intrinsic appeal, user influence or external events to observe the global dynamics of memes," said another co-author, IU professor of informatics and computer science Filippo Menczer. "This provides a real stop-and-pause moment for us as it makes information epidemics quite different from the basic modeling and conceptual framework of biological epidemics."
I discuss some of the implications of this paper here:
#attentioneconomy #selforganization #memetics
Matt Uebel originally shared this post:
On the global social media stage, it's not so much the message but rather network structure and competition for attention that determine whether a meme becomes popular and shows staying power or whether it falls by the wayside, research led by Indiana University has determined.