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In the past few days, Google have introduced a brand new visualisation and analytics feature into Google+. ‘Ripples’ allow you to easily see just how your message has spread across the network in a visual way. The application allows you to literally see every path that your status update has taken, and identifies the other people around you who are sharing your updates and engaging directly with your content.
Arrows within the Ripples app indicate the direction of resharing. Circles within circles represent a resharing sequence, so large circles indicate heavy resharing.
Louis Gray shared a list publicly of interesting ripples to look at over the weekend, the below screengrab is just one of the many visualisations which are happening on the Google+ network. Although the Ripples feature doesn’t work for everyone just yet, there are two solutions. You can append your public post ID to the end of the ripples URL e.g. https://plus.google.com/ripples/details?activityid=[postID] or you can install this ready made bookmarklet that easily lets you view your own pond ripples on your public posts.
This is an exciting development for a number of reasons. Firstly, it offers a visual way to see who you should be adding to your circles based on their own reach, and also can highlight how the network around you interconnects. It also provides a time lapse feature which lets you see how your message spreads by time, and the ebb and flow of its reach can be experienced first hand. In many ways ‘Ripples’ reminds me a lot of TouchGraph for Facebook – albeit with bells on and focuses on the more information proliferation of information rather than social circle.