A visualization of Facebook activity and how a photograph goes viral. The short video below reproduces the acts of hundreds of thousands of individuals on Facebook as they share a photograph, Famous Failures, first posted on Star Trek actor George Takei’s Page.
Each visualization is made up of a series of branches starting from a single person. As the branch grows, re-shares split off on their own arcs, sometimes spawning a new generation of re-shares, sometimes exploding in a short-lived burst of activity. The two different colors show gender, and each successive generation becomes more and more white as time goes by.
The data is taken from a three-month period from July to September 2012 and utilized Facebook news feeds. Our activity appears almost fractal in the video, or perhaps we are collectively like a budding flower in what we do.
You can see two other videos on the Facebook Stories site; all three were done by Stamen, an art and design studio based in San Francisco. If you are interested in the details of how the project was completed over a two-week period, Stamen has an account on their blog at Facebook: Evolution of the Flowers that is worth reading.