What Does It Look Like When A Facebook Photo Goes Viral?

By Justin Lafferty 

To show viral activity, we could post graphs, charts, and just a plain list of numbers. Facebook, through its Stories program, took virality a step further. Facebook Stories took three images from celebrity George Takei and created an intriguing visual representation of sharing through the social network.

Facebook tracked the shares of three images that Takei has posted: Marvin the MartianAb Fab London, and Famous Failures. The site then put together animations showing how a photo shared by an influential person such as Takei can grow in popularity. The data visualized spans a three-month period from July to September and is comprised of shares from that time period.

Facebook explained the project as such:

We’ve tried to capture the frenetic energy surrounding three of the most shared images, all of which were photos published on George Takei’s page.

Each visualization is made up of a series of branches starting from a single person. As the branch grows, reshares split off on their own arcs, sometimes spawning a new generation of reshares, 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.

Readers: What did you think of this Facebook Stories feature?