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Insight Culture: James Gleeson tracks the journey of memes

Submitted on Thursday, 07/04/2022

Professor James Gleeson is interested in how memes travel online – what are the conditions that govern viral distribution? Much research in this field focuses on content – which spreads faster, cat memes or dog memes, for instance – while the work of Gleeson and his team looks at the underlying mechanisms driving meme movement.
“We are developing mathematical models to reproduce the conditions underlying the movement of memes – a statistical overview of what the system needs to be like in order for certain types of distribution to occur. Network structures, movement patterns, the dynamics of how people interact, the probability that someone will retweet rather than make new content.’
In time the work will help to identify/anticipate superspreader memes. It may also give some insight into the ideal conditions for viral meme distribution.
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