« Proposal For A New Constitutional Amendment: A Separation of Corporation and State | Main | Potential Prize for Meme Propagation Visualization Announced »

August 01, 2004



Wow, this sounds like a very interesting experiment. I think more research and studies need to be done to see just how useful and how effective viral content is. How does one create it? It’s so hard to tell what’s going to become a huge viral hit and what’s not, and I’m not sure if there’s any way to tell. I am interested in knowing which of your Meme’s did better. I have a feeling that it was the one embedded in the humorous article. While one would think that the second, the survey that offered a benefit to the participant, would be the most popular, I’m not so sure. You see so many viral stories passed around on the web (aka chain letters), that I think a humorous story is just as likely, if not more so, to attract readers and participants.


I have had the greatest pleasure of visiting your website! It is quite obvious that you have put a great deal of creativity and hard work into your home on the web! You must be quite proud of it! Wish you all the best.


bravo!!!!!!!!! very well!

robson dos santos, http://www.robsound.mus.br
Was born in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil, on May, 1963.

He began his musical studies at Clóvis Salgado Foundation (Flute course with teacher Juvenal Dias - 1982/1986).

Robson studied musical composition in a self-taugh way. Since 1988, the artist has compositions played in important contemporary music festivals, like \"Ciclo de Música Contemporânea\".

He recorded in 1990 an album named \"Euthanasia?!\" with his own compositions.

Nowadays, he works at Symphonic Orchestra of Minas Gerais as a maintenance technician instruments and going on his works and researches about contemporary music.

Nova Spivack

Here is a nice visualization of the Meme spread dataset -- http://blog.outer-court.com/archive/2004_08_05_index.html#109172501214132452

Thanks Philipp!

Nova Spivack

That's because Google can take weeks to months to index new content!


Well, maybe I'm doing this wrong -- but when I do a Google search with the shorter string, it does NOT find everything.

Nova Spivack

The long GUID was just stupid, there's no good reason for it -- we just picked a long random number, without really thinking too much about the pros and cons of the length. Hey it was the weekend and I was just fooling around! I'm very sorry! Anyway, the main goal was to make sure it would always be unique, so the longer the better. Anyway the feedback we got was that formatting in narrow blog layouts is more important than ultimate uniqueness! As for your second question -- sites that just post the GUID will simply be ignored in the results. The results will most likely be tabulated by automated bots (if there are lots of results) and they will do this by scraping the web pages that contain the GUID (or in fact any matching, unique string from the content of the Meme) and then looking for the survey fields and mining their content into a database. If the survey fields aren't there -- those sites will just be ignored in the data. So they won't skew the results.


What was the point of having such a long GUID?

Also, how about people who do not replicate the post, but just mention the meme and GUID, like here:


Won't this also skew the results? The GUID is there, but none of the statistical info.

Nova Spivack

Hey everyone, check out the new meme! It's a new, improved, second-generation meme that rewards blogs for participation. Did you notice how the first meme got my blog into the 5th position in the Daypop Top 40 list? Well, now you can do the same thing -- in fact, we all can. Let's try it and see if it works. See the new meme at http://novaspivack.typepad.com/nova_spivacks_weblog/2004/08/a_new_meme_that.html


Just let you know I post it in my Xanga account. Maybe we will get lucky and it spread throught there.


Ok... I shoulda read it first, sorry I didn't notice. :)

Also, the permalink in the original message ( http://novaspivack.typepad.com/nova_spivacks_weblog/2004/08/a_sonar_ping_of.html ) also affects some blogs' formatting. (80 characters).

Nova Spivack

I've added a "short version" of the GUID to the original post, so you can replace the longer version of the GUID in your posts if you want, if that improves your formatting. See the original post for the revised text.

Nova Spivack

you can cut the GUID in half if you need to. We can still search for the first half, which itself should be unique.


I initially posted the item in my personal blog, but removed it soon after when I realized that it messed up my layout because of the length of the GUID.


Well, I'm spreading this meme, but I don't usually spread memes -- isn't this kind of behaviour going to skew results? I usually don't find memes interesting, so I don't follow up. This one, however, caught my interest.

What could be interesting (but less easy to analyze) is to add IDs to "normal memes".

Nova Spivack

GUID -- so I just saw that Google *is* indexing the full GUID! So I've reinstated it. Do a search, you will see 1 site has been indexed for it so far. Others will follow.

Stephen Downes

I will not be posting this item in either of my blogs (NewsTrolls http://www.newstrolls.com and OLDaily http://www.downes.ca/news/OLDaily.htm ) because the length and the format of the posting required go completely against the format of these blogs.

This is therefore not an experiment in meme propogation but in meme replication, and as such, is as dependent on the nature of the meme as it is the nature of the blogosphere. Maybe more so.

As for hitting the top of Daypop (or Blogdex, where I found it), I have serious reservations about the integrity of those indices, as items that I know have been posted in more locations than are currently in their list do not show up in their top 40 (or 100, or whatever). many - probably most - sites are omitted from these calculations, and the usual 'A List' blogs are disproportionately represented.

Adam Kalsey

The problem with shortening the GUID is that Google doesn't search substrings. So if someone searches for the shortened GUID, they won't find pages containing the longer GUID.

Nova Spivack

Hi Susanna, your point is interesting. Actually this test is a precursor to some new technologies we are experimenting with related to the semantic web. I think in the future we will be able to do exactly what you suggest -- there will be ways to use this concept that integrate more seamlessly with the actual content of a blog. More on this later...



The results of this could be interesting, but it seems to me that the method of the experiment could limit it to blogs which blog about blogging. For example, a blog about antique cars or water polo or Illinois politics might hesitate to confuse readers with a random post listing this information.

However, this post did make the Daypop Top 40, so clearly there are enough blogs out there meta enough to give this thing legs. I just wonder if there's another method of meme propagation that's subtler and wouldn't interfere with a blog's daily operations.

Nova Spivack

It will probably be a few days before Google indexes everyone, at the very least.

Also, I noticed that Technorati doesn't seem to return results for the GUID yet -- which is strange, because I *know* they index my blog and many others more frequently. So it could be a bug in Technorati actually -- I sent email to Dave about it.


Just added to my blog too (UK). I don't see any results on Google, but I guess that will take some propogation time too.

B.K. DeLong

Hmmmm. Searching using the GUID on either Technorati or Google gave no results.

Nova Spivack

If enough sites participate in this experiment, I will be offering a cash prize for the best visualization of the data-set. Let's see if enough sites participate to make the data-set rich enough to be interesting.


Nova Spivack

I shortened the GUID, but the shorter version is a subset of the longer one, so it will still work. I shortened it for better formatting on some blogs.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

Twine | Nova Spivack - My Public Twine items

Radar Networks

  • twine.jpg
  • logo_v5_03b.jpg
  • logo_v5_03b.jpg

Nova's Trip to Edge of Space

  • Stepsedgestratosphere
    In 1999 I flew to the edge of space with the Russian air force, with Space Adventures. I made it to an altitude of just under 100,000 feet and flew at Mach 3 in a Mig-25 piloted by one of Russia's best test-pilots. These pics were taken by Space Adventures from similar flights to mine. I didn't take digital stills -- I got the whole flight on digital video, which was featured on the Discovery Channel.

Nova & Friends, Training For Space...

  • Img021
    In 1999 I was invited to Russia as a guest of the Russian Space Agency to participate in zero-gravity training on an Ilyushin-76 parabolic flight training aircraft. It was really fun!!!! Among other people on that adventure were Peter Diamandis (founder of the X-Prize and Zero-G Corporation), Bijal Trivedi (a good friend of mine, science journalist), and "Lord British" (creator of the Ultima games). Here are some pictures from that trip...


People I Like

  • Peter F. Drucker
    Peter F. Drucker was my grandfather. He was one of my principal teachers and inspirations all my life. My many talks with him really got me interested in organizations and society. He had one of the most impressive minds I've ever encountered. He died in 2005 at age 95. Here is what I wrote about his death. His foundation is at http://www.pfdf.org/
  • Mayer Spivack
    Mayer Spivack is my father; he's a brilliant inventor, cognitive scientist, sculptor, designer and therapist. He also builds carbon fiber trimarans in his spare time, and studies animal intelligence. He is working on several theories related to the origins of violence and ways to prevent it, new treatments for learning disabilities, and new theories of cognition. He doesn't have a Web site yet, but I'm working on him...
  • Marin Spivack
    Marin Spivack is my brother. He is the one of the only western 20th generation lineage holders of the original Chen Family Tai Chi tradition in China. He's been practicing Tai Chi for about 6 to 10 hours a day for the last 10 years and is now one of the best and most qualified Tai Chi teachers in America. He just returned from 3 years in China studying privately with a direct descendant of the original Chen family that created Tai Chi. The styles that he teaches are mainly secret and are not known or taught in the USA. One thing is for sure, this is not your grandmother's Tai Chi: This is serious combat Tai Chi -- the original, authentic Tai Chi, not the "new age" form that is taught in the USA -- it's intense, physically-demanding, fast, powerful and extremely deadly. If you are serious about Tai Chi and want to learn the authentic style and applications, the way it was meant to be, you should study with my brother. He's located in Boston these days but also travels when invited to teach master classes.
  • Louise Freedman
    Louise specializes in art-restoration. She does really big projects like The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, The Gardner Museum and Harvard University. She's also a psychotherapist and she's married to my dad. She likes really smart parrots and she knows how to navigate a large sailboat.
  • Kris Thorisson
    Kris has been working with me for years on the design of the Radar Networks software, a new platform for the Semantic Web. He has a PhD from the MIT Media Lab. He designs intelligent humanoids and virtual realities. He is from Iceland, which makes him pretty cool.
  • Kimberly Rubin
    Kim is my girlfriend and partner, and also a producer of 11 TV movies, and now an entrepreneur in the pet industry. She is passionate about animals. She has unusual compassion and a great sense of humor.
  • Kathleen Spivack
    Kathleen Spivack is my mother. She's a poet, novelist and creative writing teacher. She was a personal student of Robert Lowell and was in the same group of poets with Silvia Plath, Elizabeth Bishop and Anne Sexton. She coaches novelists, playwrites and poets in France and the USA. She teaches privately and her students, as well as being published, have won many of the top writing prizes.
  • Josh Kirschenbaum
    Josh is a visual effects whiz, director and generalist hacker in LA. We have been pals and collaborators since the 1980's. Josh is probably going to be the next Jim Cameron. He's also a really good writer.
  • Joey Tamer
    Joey is a long-time friend and advisor. She is an expert on high-tech strategic planning.
  • Jim Wissner
    Jim is among the most talented software developers I've ever worked with. He's a prolific Java coder and an expert on XML. He's the lead engineer for Radar Networks.
  • Jerry Michalski
    I have been friends with Jerry for many years; he's been advising Radar Networks on social software technology.
  • Chris Jones
    Chris is a long-time friend and now works with me in Radar Networks, as our director of user-experience. He's a genius level product designer, GUI designer, and product manager.
  • Bram Boroson
    Bram is an astrophysicist and college pal of mine. We spend hours and hours brainstorming about cellular automata simulations of the universe. He's one of the smartest people I ever met.
  • Bari Koral
    Bari Koral is a really talented singer songwriter. We co-write songs together sometimes. She's getting some buzz these days -- she recently opened for India Arie. She worked at EarthWeb many years ago. Now she tours almost all year long and she just had a hit in Europe. Check out her video, on her site.
  • Adam Cohen
    Adam Cohen is a long-term friend; we were roommates in college. He is a really talented composer and film-scorer. He doesn't have a Web site but I like him anyway! He's in Hollywood living the dream.
Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 08/2003