Competition among memes in a world with limited attention : Scientific Reports : Nature Publishing Group

The spread of memes in Twitter may have nothing much, if anything, to do with the meme itself. The results in this paper suggest that the dynamics of the network inevitably lead to emergent patterns of meme distribution. Pretty much anything can go viral and, more significantly, it can be completely random. In real life, this seems counter intuitive, inasmuch as there must be some relevance to the content: if one tweeted a random assortment of words, or a bland statement like ‘I like popcorn’ it is hard to believe that it would go viral as rapidly as, say, the announcement of a major natural disaster or the impeachment of a president. However, it could (and does) happen, with no further explanation needed apart from ‘it is random’. That’s quite interesting.

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I am a professional learner, employed as a Full Professor and Associate Dean, Learning & Assessment, at Athabasca University, where I research lots of things broadly in the area of learning and technology, and I teach mainly in the School of Computing & Information Systems. I am a proud Canadian, though I was born in the UK. I am married, with two grown-up children, and three growing-up grandchildren. We all live in beautiful Vancouver.

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