Applying scientific methodology and data science to social growth hacking

September 05, 2014 4 min read

The science of being popular.

Many times throughout my early-access career on Ello and various other social networks, I believe people have often wanted to ask me how I became so popular. Currently I have added a devout following of 312 friends which boasts a whopping >31,000% growth rate today alone on Ello.

How did I do it you ask? Well, grab some popcorn and a seat while I rock your world.

Years ago I employed a group of scientists to help me with my research. One of the scientists, named Striker, has made many breakthroughs in peer-to-peer interaction analysis. We devised an experiment to track and predict what type of posts will be popular on individual networks and what's about to take off (new memes, news, etc). These are our experiment notes which are mostly observational.

First we needed the proper data. We studied many age groups, personality disorders, and types of human subjects existing online by finding them in their habitual communities.

Here is what we witnessed:

- Ego-centricism, bikini pic stalkers, and how-to guides on dissolving your relationships on Facebook, 
- Empty room shouters with multiple-personality disorders on Twitter, 
- White knights, [shills](, spammers, trolls, and circlejerks on Reddit, 
- Non-original content perpetuators on 9gag, 
- Lazy, jealous wish-crafters on Pinterest, 
- Human test subjects on Bluelight and Erowid, 
- Degenerate racists, faget OPs, and celebrity phone hackers on 4chan, 
- Job recruiters on Linkedin 

    (Please note: we had to stop studying Linkedin due to egregious email spam we couldn't completely unsubscribe from. All computers had to have Adobe Reader updated, Google ULTRON uninstalled, and new emails were issued to all employees [new format:])

    At this point we took a break to admire the beautiful echoing caverns created by Google+

    - We reblogged social justice warriors on Tumblr,
    - Our phones kept crashing trying to upload to Instagram, 
    - Popularity whoring and studies of facepalm Q&A to questionably aged teenagers on,
    - You-should-still-go-to-college substandard content creators on Vine, 
    - Hipsters and Bachelor of Arts studentloan debt holders on Flickr, 
    - Forever alone chatroom perverts on Omegle, 
    - Penises... so many penises... on Chatroulette, 

      We needed to buy a new cellphone to keep up with our growing social demand (Klout score off the charts) and research so we stopped by Craigslist to get one on the cheap. $100 for an iPhone 6? What could go wrong?

      We met a girl, and her 6 male friends waiting in her Corolla, to make the purchase outside of a Walmart parking lot located approx. inbetween both our residences. I wanted to pay her the asking price which we had already agreed to but forgot a $10 bill at home (whoops!). She still accepted the deal and it was a steal!

      To our dismay, the phone was banned from all networks due to a reported theft. We left AT&T with a brand new cell phone on two-year contract after Police questioning. Oh well, back to work. Our observations intensified...

      - Scandalously-dressed digital security illiterates on "it's not going to happen" Snapchat, 
      - Self-important gym membership holding check-in spammers on Foursquare, 
      - Ever-increasingly irrelevant band members on Myspace, 
      - Elitist rare item enthusiats on World of Warcraft camping our spawn point, 
      - Armchair economists and established / respected soon-to-be-scammers on BitcoinTalk, 
      - Wantreprenuers and TMI you-probably-shouldn't-have-publicly-shared-that on Wordpress, 
      - A society whose own experiments prove microwave ramen is a survivable diet on deviantART, 
      - In-decisive bandwagoners and portfolio building self-pleasurers on Angelist, and many more... 

      We collected tons of data, Striker and I. We built a team of first-year data scientists (career chosen because Fiverr couldn't pay the bills, but at least they all had college degrees) to build the most complex statistical analysis models ever known to humanity. Years passed as keyboard replacements became our largest business expense. There was no time to waste.

      Striker used 3D printing to build new workspaces that maximized productivity. Each trendy open-space cubicle (just like Facebook!) had an innovative office-chair-toilet-seat combo and all human biological consumption requirements were met through IV-fed Soylent dispensers.

      We increased the workday to 22 hours powered by prescription modafinil sourced on the darkweb with bitcoin and caffinated soap on wash cloths. Our workforce drank more Redbull than the Jersey Shore. Everything was building towards the most beautiful capstone of online psychological analysis ever constructed. Social networks were a farmed resource, the data our children, and we were their Gods.

      It is commonplace to restate the original question when conducting the scientific methodology. So, how did we astronomically grow in popularity? How did we become the trendsetters, social influencers, tastemakers, leaders amongst our peers, an online metaphor to being on the Middle School basketball team, the Great Bambino of online likes, follows, shares, upvotes, post bumps, comment counts, and front page residency holders of the internet?

      I blame burn rates, but the results were inconclusive.


      Want to read something less non-fictional?

      Check out our blog:
      How I made $40k within Shopify's Trial Period or
      How the Frontpage of the Internet Affects Overall Traffic

      1 Response


      July 13, 2016

      Holy shit, this article is actually fucking brilliant, how has noone replied to this before?

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