Saturday, December 8, 2007

How Widespread Is The Infection?

How widespread is the infection of the story virus?

It has definitely gone farther than I thought it would.

I wish I was a scientist, a statistician, adept at graphic arts, something, so I can say something other than, "Wow! It's pretty cool how it's spreading!".

It was interesting when it first started, in that some people were tagged multiple times by different story threads, probably due to the blogominisphere I travel in. There are a relatively small number of people that read my blog and whose blogs I read, so it's not a surprise we sometimes tagged each other more than once. But now, the virus has definitely leapt out of that blogominisphere and into other blogominispheres, one's I have never been exposed to.

This seems to be a pretty robust meme. When someone gets tagged and then contributes a piece of story to a particular thread, the contributor has a self-interest in propagating the story with their addition -- and they want to see it thrive. In some ways, this meme really does function as a virus, as an organism that seeks to propagate itself.

Again, I wish I was a scientist or something, I'd probably have a lot cooler things to say, and more interesting parallels to draw.

I'm going to try my best to graphically represent how the various threads have traveled thus far, but if the virus continues to spread, it might be difficult.

If anyone has any recommendations as to how to represent the story virus (I was thinking of a family tree kinda diagram), please recommend one.

Thanks to everyone who has been infected. I'm making an effort to follow all the strains!

P.S. I think in coining the term "blogominisphere" I believe I have ratcheted up the obnoxiousness of the word "blog", something I did not think was possible.

12 comments:

Randal Graves said...

This was a genius idea. I thought about a separate blog to gather the links, but as you said, as it flies all over the goddamn place, it's difficult to keep track of. So, while the family tree idea is probably the best, there's going to be crosslinking and much convolusion. Which isn't even a goddamn word. Better find someone with some serious graphical kung-fu. :)

Freida Bee said...

Oh Splotch, you have started a viral monster. I believe an exponential funtion might be apt, but dry in it's lack of desciptiveness. It might reveal a numerical pattern and I might be able to help with that, a function given the data, but I like the family tree idea re: labeling where it went. Randal had an idea over at DCup's to start a blog about this. Each story in it's entirity could be there in some way.

Tom said...

I commented on Cooper's thread a similar idea.

What I'm thinking: follow it for some reasonable number of generations (assuming an average of just 2 people get infected at each point, there will be 2^8=256 descendants after only 8 generations). Maybe you should have added an instruction to ping you a trackback.

Since, as you said, there will be alot of memetic incest, a tree graph would be rather complicated. Instead:

1. A Pagerank algorithm. The meme is, due to incestuous relationships, going to become a nodal network. What is the probability that a random hop will lead to one of the alternative story lines? Using a little eigenvalue magic, yo might be able to assign a weight to each node describing its relative influence (maybe someone introduced a new idea that spread to more people than other strains, etc).

2. Graph theory. Can you perform a Eulerian or Hamiltonian circuit about this convoluted network? What is the path-minimizing route through the entire structure?

3. Information Theory. How much does each thread differ from others? Which lineages have higher information entropy and hence more information? Which components have a smaller Kullback-Leibler divergence (are more predictable)?

Tom said...

I commented on Cooper's thread a similar idea.

What I'm thinking: follow it for some reasonable number of generations (assuming an average of just 2 people get infected at each point, there will be 2^8=256 descendants after only 8 generations). Maybe you should have added an instruction to ping you a trackback.

Since, as you said, there will be alot of memetic incest, a tree graph would be rather complicated. Instead:

1. A Pagerank algorithm. The meme is, due to incestuous relationships, going to become a nodal network. What is the probability that a random hop will lead to one of the alternative story lines? Using a little eigenvalue magic, yo might be able to assign a weight to each node describing its relative influence (maybe someone introduced a new idea that spread to more people than other strains, etc).

2. Graph theory. Can you perform a Eulerian or Hamiltonian circuit about this convoluted network? What is the path-minimizing route through the entire structure?

3. Information Theory. How much does each thread differ from others? Which lineages have higher information entropy and hence more information? Which components have a smaller Kullback-Leibler divergence (are more predictable)?

NotSoccer Mom said...

this was actually pretty fun, although the thread i added onto has died, i believe. oh well.

Freida Bee said...

Perhaps you should let Tom handle the math of it, then, but if you do something over what will be my winter break coming up here, I'll help a bit.

dguzman said...

I have been tagged twice and haven't finished my section! It's a fast-moving virus, so fast it seems to have hit and passed me.

Maybe one of those neighborhood tree graphical respresentations. Only with a lot more branches.

FranIAm said...

This virus reminds me of putting duct tape on the windows for protection.

And then I remembered... As an Mac person, I don't use windows. And I rarely get a virus!

(whomp-WHA, worst joke possibly ever.ever ever.)

Splotchy, whatever you did here, you did good baby, it is off the freaking heezy.

Go check out my man Fairlane's addition at Jonestown. He is also a real music guy, I am astounded that you two have not yet connected.

Dr. Zaius said...

Ack! It's out of control! There is frozen apple sauce everywhere! Call the National Guard! (What? Oh, they are all in Iraq.) Can no one stop this flow of frozen applesauce across our nation's borders?

DCup said...

This has been an amazing blog-virus.

I'm toying with a blog family tree right now, but I know it's going to be a nightmare to accomplish.

It seems like Tom has some good ideas. At one point I considered a Venn Diagram of blogs, but I'm not sure that that would help you track the story strains.

Anyway, what a kick it's been to be a part of this. Great idea, Splotchy!!!!

Splotchy said...

randal g, I have come to the conclusion that I am not even a white belt at graphical kung-fu :).

freida b, if you wanna give it a try after your finals, or just postulate some ideas, I'd love to hear them.

tom, that's a lot of food for thought, and mostly things I am not familiar with. I'll have to read up on those topics. I seem to remember an article on SlashDot or BoingBoing about someone doing some heavy-duty analysis on relationships of blogs, coming up with a worldwide graphical representation of the relationships. I'd love to have whatever algorithm was used to create that image -- obviously, mine would be a drop in the bucket compared to the kinds of analysis they were doing.

Splotchy said...

d, it's never too late to get infected. It would indeed be one freaky looking tree.

dr z, I wish there was some way I could gauge the spread. I imagine at this point it's probably dying out.

dcup, thanks a lot! I saw a previous reference from you about Venn diagrams, and I looked them up but I wasn't sure how I could use them.