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Flow Charts - Open to Interpretation?

Click image to enlarge This social media data visualization was recently posted amidst a “65 terrific Social Media Graphs” blog, and quite frankly, I’m perplexed as to why. The chart in and of itself is simple enough in its message: A negative sentiment from a early adopter will manifest itself into a larger response than a positive, but the imagery itself is baffling and could mean one of any number of things. Let’s pursue a possible scenario.. Promoters (AKA spokespeople, ambassadors, champions): Phase 1: College Guy (Hereafter known as “CG”) tells curiously matching-attired dorm mate about something he loves online. Phase 2: Dorm Mate then champions it to his father, who doesn’t care, and his girlfriend, who tells all her friends about said loved item. This results in a large group of positive impressions, but none that make it to the “American Gladiator Elite” of promoters on the right. Phase 3: Luckily, Dorm Mate knows a Punk Kid whom he beats up, and forces him to tell a slew of friends. Phase 4: Of these friends, two tell four people that don’t care, an older gentleman becomes very upset and tells his uninterested daughter and son about it at family chutes-and-ladders night, and Punk Kid’s girlfriend and Punk Kid #2 finally pull out iphones to get their point across. Final tally: 6 (12 if you could Punk Kid #2’s group, but they also didn’t make it to the winner’s circle on the right).

Passives (AKA middle-roaders, impartials, indifferents): Phases 1-3: CG tells his dad who tells his sister. Final tally: Dinner is still at 6, and your mother is making meat loaf.

Detractors (AKA naysayers, negative Nancies, haters. Spanish for “The Tractors”): Phase 1: CG gives the finger to Punk Kid Phase 2: Punk Kid gives the finger to no less than 4 people Phase 3: CG #2 tells Punk Kid #2 about the finger Punk Kid #1 gave him. Punk Kid #2 considers this totally hilarious and tells his girlfriend about how awesome it was that a punk gave a college guy the finger. Both make out listening to the Smiths. Meanwhile, Punk Kid #3 didn’t find it funny for whatever reason, and tells 3 seemingly random people, while Red Shirt Girl tells 6 people that “This finger is for you.” Phase 4: Older gentleman is wildly offended and gives the finger two thumbs down. His CG son doesn’t care, while his black sheep Punk Kid son breaks down and goes on a naked middle finger spree across the neighborhood, offending every person he sees who contagiously go berserk and do the same, ending in a huge melange of public disturbance that results in several dozen arrests and a 44 second segment on the evening news. Final tally: 72 people processed, 68 of which made bail.

For those of you that found this graph informative, I commend your tactful sense of perception. For the rest of you that scrunched up your nose in bewilderment, I hope I was able to shed some light on the true nature of the word-of-mouth process.

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