Mechanisms of meme propagation in the mediasphere: a system dynamics model

Ilaria Perissi (Department of Chemistry, Universita degli Studi di Firenze, Firenze, Italy)
Sara Falsini (Department of Chemistry, Universita degli Studi di Firenze, Firenze, Italy)
Ugo Bardi (Department of Chemistry, Universita degli Studi di Firenze, Firenze, Italy)

Kybernetes

ISSN: 0368-492X

Publication date: 14 January 2019

Abstract

Purpose

In the age of internet memes spread around the world in very short time, it has been already proved that, in several cases, the mechanism of propagation is very similar to a flu infection. However, this model turns out to be invalid if the spreading is generated by the mass media (TV, radio and the like). This paper aims to explore for the first time this non-viral dynamic (“fallout model”).

Design/methodology/approach

Two different dynamic models were developed to explain the viral and the mass media-powered meme propagations, and both were tested using data from Google Trends.

Findings

Viral propagation is not the only mechanism of meme diffusion. Memes can also diffuse by a “fallout” model, in which the susceptible populations are affected by the meme messages almost simultaneously, as it happens in the physical world for a radioactive fallout or for other poisoning agents.

Originality/value

This study provides a method to determine whether a certain meme has been diffusing by means of its own viral power or has been “planted” as the result of a commercial advertising campaign or a government propaganda operation.

Keywords

Citation

Ilaria Perissi, Sara Falsini and Ugo Bardi (2019) "Mechanisms of meme propagation in the mediasphere: a system dynamics model", Kybernetes, Vol. 48 No. 1, pp. 79-90

Download as .RIS

DOI

: https://doi.org/10.1108/K-05-2017-0192

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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