Our paper on Internet memes has been accepted as a full paper at the International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media.
By means of a sample of 150 famous Internet memes, we analyze temporal patterns of meme spread and attempt predicting the future evolution of their popularity. For instance, here's a prediction for the poularity time series of the "om nom nom" meme:
And here are title and abstract of the paper:
Insights into Internet Memes
Internet memes are phenomena that rapidly gain popularity or notoriety on the Internet. Often, modifications or spoofs add to the profile of the original idea thus turning it into a phenomenon that transgresses social and cultural boundaries. It is commonly assumed that Internet memes spread virally but scientific evidence as to this assumption is scarce. In this paper, we address this issue and investigate the epidemic dynamics of 150 famous Internet memes. Our analysis is based on time series data that were collected from Google Insights, Delicious, Digg, and StumbleUpon. We find that differential equation models from mathematical epidemiology as well as simple log-normal distributions give a good account of the growth and decline of memes. We discuss the role of log-normal distributions in modeling Internet phenomena and touch on practical implications of our findings.