Can we engineer viral behaviour?

Determining influence on Twitter isn’t as simple as seeing how many followers a user has. What matters most is that followers pay attention to posts and discuss them, and that this discussion spreads beyond the user who started it. The researchers have been exploring better ways to measure a person’s influence, and Trumor grew out of this work.

The researchers tested several methods of doing this, such as looking at the number of connections a user had, or how close they were to others on the network. They found that they could identify them using a method called “rumor centrality,” which measures how well-placed a person is to spread information.

This sounds great in theory, but I suspect that as soon as we are able to engineer viral behaviour on social networks in repeatable way, the network filter will move to counter balance the effect. Then again, everybody likes a celebrity… so maybe not?