How viral photos spread on Facebook

Posted to Network Visualization  |  Tags: ,  |  Nathan Yau

Number of likes and shares for a Facebook post are just simple aggregates that give you an idea of how popular that post was, but they don’t tell you anything about how that post got so popular. For Facebook Stories, Stamen Design explored how a single post can spread through the network, via three viral photos shared by George Takei.

Each visualization is made up of a series of branches, starting from George. As each branch grows, re-shares split off onto their own arcs. Sometimes, these re-shares spawn a new generation of re-shares, and sometimes they explode in short-lived bursts of activity. The two different colors show gender, and each successive generation becomes lighter as time goes by. And the curves are just for snazz.

So you see a beautiful burst in the beginning, as the photo is shared by people who follow Takei, and then the photo spreads within smaller groups of friends. The above is from the animation that shows how a graphic for famous failures spread.

Favorites

Graphical perception – learn the fundamentals first

Before you dive into the advanced stuff – like just about everything in your life – you have to learn the fundamentals before you know when you can break the rules.

Shifting Incomes for American Jobs

For various occupations, the difference between the person who makes the most and the one who makes the least can be significant.

Best Data Visualization Projects of 2016

Here are my favorites for the year.

10 Best Data Visualization Projects of 2015

These are my picks for the best of 2015. As usual, they could easily appear in a different order on a different day, and there are projects not on the list that were also excellent.