How Video Goes Viral: our Twitter data visualisations in the press

We’re excited to have received some fantastic press coverage this week for our data visualisation project for Twitter UK. Here’s a few details of the project and the interest it’s generated.

The brief: Understand how different types of video go viral. How do people share this content on Twitter?

We analysed 4 different types of videos to understand the different social dynamics of different types of content:


We tracked these videos  using our social media intelligence platform, Pulsar TRAC.

Having built this technology ourselves, specifically for research, we developed a unique content tracking function that searches content by URL – as well as by keyword. It even “unbundles” shortened URLs such as and to ensure it can handle Twitter’s shortened links. Which is what made this research study possible.

What we created: A different kind of research output:

  • 4 dynamic data visualisations in video format (on YouTube)
  • 4 network maps for each video, exploring different dimensions of how they spread, such as visibility and Klout

Here’s how Twitter reported the story on their blog:

Twitter viral

And then it started being picked up in UK press…


daily mail

Then we got picked up by global tech press, including MashableBusiness Insider,GigaOm and All Things D.

But the highlight for the team had to be this tweet from none other than Commander Hadfield himself:


Gorgeous though they are, these data  visualisations alone don’t tell the full story of how videos go viral.

We’ll be publishing our full analysis in the first week of September – watch this space!

Meanwhile, meet us at Social Data Week in NY and San Francisco. And keep in touch with Pulsar through @Pulsar_Social and its creator Francesco D’Orazio (@abc3d) on Twitter.


Jessica Owens