Twitter Visually Charts The Success of 2013’s Most Viral Videos So Far


Twitter has analyzed three of the most viral videos of 2013 so far and have charted their virality on their site.

The three videos they analyzed were the “Ryan Gosling Won’t Eat His Cereal” video series, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield’s rendition of “Space Oddity” inside the International Space Station and the Dove “Real Beauty Sketches” ad. While the Dove and Chris Hadfield videos are on YouTube, the Ryan Gosling series is the only mention from Twitter’s video platform Vine.

Gordon McMillan, editorial manager of Twitter UK, explained about his company’s findings in the latest blog post: “One of the key things we learnt from looking closely at these three is that videos don’t go viral in the same way. There are no rules to ‘virality’ — while some ignite, and spread like wildfire across the web, the growth of others is much more measured, like ripples spreading across a lake.”

With the help of researchers Jake Steadman and Louise Chow, Twitter posted “dynamic visualization” videos to chart how each of the three videos developed their viral success. McMillan explained that the blue nodes in each of the videos represent original tweets, and the bigger the nodes are, the larger the reach of that tweet. The video chartings also take into account retweets (which are symbolized by yellow nodes) and not only followers but audience size as well.

In the case of “Ryan Gosling Won’t Eat His Cereal,” which consists of six-second Vines of the actor looking like he’s refusing a spoonful of cereal, creator Ryan W. McHenry shared them with influential Twitter handles like BestVinesEver and VineLoops. By seeding his Vine clips with Twitter, it ensured his videos’ viral success.


While “Ryan Gosling Won’t Eat His Cereal” became successful largely through a content creator passing it along to tastemakers, Chris Hadfield’s “Space Oddity” saw success largely through his own Twitter following. More than 90 percent of the video shares took place within three days of the video’s posting on YouTube.


As for Dove’s “Real Beauty Sketches” video, it sustained its success because it spread differently among other clusters and tastemakers on the site and its positive message. It did not have as much of the influencer-driven spikes as “Ryan Gosling Won’t Eat His Cereal” and Chris Hadfield’s “Space Oddity” cover.

Twitter’s research is their way of showing that brands can use their site to reach larger audiences by sharing more videos, using hashtags, utilize their Promoted Tweets platform and, of course, use of their Vine video app.

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