November 18, 2008 at 15:58 PM EST
Researcher Claims “Attention Spirals” Hold Key To Predicting Success Of YouTube Videos
Why do certain videos on YouTube become mass phenomena while the vast majority of videos just get a handful of views, if any? Riley Crane, an American post doctoral fellow currently researching at the Chair of Entrepreneurial Risks at ETH university in Zurich/Switzerland , says he has the answer: According to him, the success of online videos can be explained with physics. Crane claims every time a YouTube video turns into a hit, the development takes the form of an "attention spiral", a geometric pattern that partly follows physical laws. He discovered that a decrease of popularity with certain videos, for example, can be explained through methods usually utilized in modeling the aftershocks of earthquakes. He believes social systems on the web follow the rules of physics and can therefore be analyzed mathematically.
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