It’s early days for social analytics, but ever since the term “viral” was coined, there have been many attempts to determine how and why content gets rapidly disseminated across the social sphere. While there probably isn’t a single formula that works for all, understanding social amplification is a bit of art and science. The NY Times’ R&D group has taken an analytical approach through Project Cascade, a beautiful visualization of how some of their content spreads over time, seeking patterns and trends. Breaking down large sets of data into multiple graphical views that change over time often beats trying to make sense of often multiple spreadsheets of data. While Project Cascade has been deemed an R&D effort, I see promise in other contexts.