Tracking Memes & Virality on Television: SOTU 2015

In collaboration with the Internet Archive, using massive audio scanning algorithms, the 2015 State of the Union address was broken into soundbites and each was tracked across American and select international television monitored by the Internet Archive for the two weeks following the address. An interactive visualization lets you search/filter/browse the entire speech and see how each line went viral, and even view the actual video clips of all 524 broadcasts that aired excerpts of the speech, including a wide array of domestic programming and television stations from Ethiopia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Morocco, Nigeria, Portugal, Thailand, Venezuala, and Vietnam. The underlying scanning algorithms operate entirely on the audio channel, so they are not dependent on closed captioning, which is extremely noisy and absent from many foreign stations. It turns out they are accurate enough to pick up even very short excerpts masked by overdubbing, music, and other noise, offering an entirely new approach to tracking memes and what "goes viral" on television.

Read the Official Announcement on the Internet Archive Blog.
View the Interactive Visualization.