Want to see a VERY cool way of visualizing the spread of a post on Google+ out to other G+ users? Using the new "Ripples" featured announced today, this is very trivial to do. Check out this example (of a post that is deliberately being shared around to test Ripples):
Now, if you follow the link (or click on the image) to the actual Google+ page, you can then move around the image, zoom in on certain sections and do all the typical kind of movement you might expect in a Google product.
But where it gets even cooler is down at the bottom of the page where you can "watch the spread":
Press the "play" icon and you can watch the spread of the story as it goes throughout Google+. It's a very cool way to visualize how the story moves through G+.
Now, there is a caveat here. The post must be shared PUBLICLY in order for it to be included in the Ripples visualization.
This makes sense in order to protect where people have shared a post with only a smaller circle. But what this does mean is that if you want to try it yourself and see a Ripples view, you need to share an item out and include "Public" in the sharing:
Now here's a second example of an actual post (versus a contrived example) that was shared out widely. In this case it is a post/rant by Felicia Day expressing irritation about sites that don't use RSS. Note a couple of interesting aspects of the visualization:
- There's a big circle where Wil Wheaton shared it out and then obviously had it re-shared by many.
- In the timeline, look at the gap where Susan Beebe then created another bubble of sharing of the post.
Again, watching the spread is rather fun on this post:
Now, to view the Ripples on any post on Google+, you simple go to the "down arrow" in the upper right corner of any post to get the "options" menu, and there at the bottom will be "View Ripples":
Incidentally, that post from Chris Brogan also has an interesting sharing pattern:
It may be some time before we understand the full value of this Ripples mechanism, but already I can see that it can be useful in helping understand how messages flow. And certainly as Google+ starts to expand out into business usage, I could see charts like these being very useful for PR/communications staff or firms to be able to measure and show the sharing that a particular piece of content gets.
What do you think? Have you tried out the Ripples yet? Do you see value in them?
P.S. Naturally you might want to discuss this post on Google+ since it is about that service...
UPDATE #1, Oct 27th: Since I included all these well-shared posts as images, I thought I would also show you that Ripples starts working as soon as your post is shared once on Google+. Here is the Ripple for this blog post after I put the link in Google+. As you can see, it has so far been shared exactly once:
Now, of course, if any of you reading this post share my post inside Google+, then the Google+ activity page should update to show the other shares.
UPDATE #2, Oct 28th: I meant to point out in the commentary on "watch the spread" that this was very similar to the playback feature in Google Wave. I didn't... but TechCrunch did.
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