Look out, Interwebs. The SciCom slugs are coming to a social network near you.
By the end of the quarter, we have to commit an act of journalism using social media. My limited attempts to build an online community were not too successful, so I’m dubious about this project. Will our creations spread through our networks?
According to a post from John Timmer at Ars Technica, the answer could lie in Farmville, a popular Facebook app. Researchers tracked Farmville installs during the summer of 2007. They found that social networks began to positively influence user downloads once the application received 55 downloads daily. When the application became too popular (over 5000 downloads), installs decreased. Conclusion: social influence is either on or off, there are no shades of gray.
“Not having seen anything like this before, the authors don’t appear to know what to make of it,” Timmer says.
My feeling exactly. Rather than using science to explain network influence, perhaps I’ll have to do science to create a community. After all, social media appears to be just one big experiment.