Trylon Communications  - March 2004

Start Spreadin' the News

A recent report by engineers at Hewlett Packard tracked how news travels through the Internet, growing from a single article posted in an obscure Web log into a national news story that garners major media attention. The engineers constructed a diagram that maps how news items start and travel up the Internet food chain.

PR practitioners who are interested in learning how ideas grow from isolated topics into full-blown epidemics "infecting" large populations can learn from this study. Such an understanding is also important to marketers who want to pitch products and ideas directly to the most influential people in any given group.

The ability to analyze a story’s “legs” can help your business promote a positive story – or tell you how seriously to be concerned about a negative report beginning to circulate.

Another benefit of this type of research is the ability to determine which blogs will be most influential in promoting future stories. For example, it may be easier to place a story on a smaller blog that actually influences a more widely read blog.

To view an abstract of the researchers’ paper and get more information, click here.