Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Twitter Doesn’t Know Why This Ryan Gosling Video Went Viral

Why did this Vine of Ryan Gosling not eating cereal go viral?

Dunno. Maybe the collective unconscious has something to do with it. Or maybe the growing revolt against carbohydrates. Also: Ryan Gosling.

Twitter attempts to answer the question on its blog today, and comes up with the same range of unsatisfying answers. Basically, different stuff goes viral for different reasons. If you could predict it in advance, you’d run BuzzFeed — and then the world.

But! Twitter researchers in the U.K. are able to tell you how the Vine went viral, which makes for a cool visual representation. The guide, per Twitter’s blog: “The blue nodes represent Tweets; the bigger they are, the larger the potential reach of that Tweet. The yellow dots represent retweets.” Got that?

What’s that? You’d like to see more viral videos and their Twitter paths? Okay, here’s a bonus set.

Astronaut Chris Hadfield’s rendition of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity,” which has racked up more than 17 million views since May:

And Twitter’s map of its success:


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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik