Back in 2006, I attempted to visualize how digital influence spread through the blogoshpere using a metaphor of "ripples". Fast forward 5 years and there's a really cool new feature you can play with on Google Plus called "Ripples". See below:
I really love what Google is doing with this visualization. Here's how it works as best I can tell. In this visualization you can see the source of the share indicated by large type. In this case, Jeanette Halgreen was the first in this particular digital influence ecosystem to start the sharing. You can follow the ripples which spill out in multiple directions. Ripples shows larger spheres where there is a lot of sharing happening and it shows you who is sharing from who and displays direct shares and total number of re-shares.
You can even play back Ripples to watch the spread of a particular post which tracks the movement of the media over a timeframe and visualizes it allowing you to see who, and where reverberation was generated.
So what's in it for business? For starters it gives media professionals a test area to see how media spreads, who is spreading it—what makes something sharable and how connections work. Of course it's only a small sample (Google Plus) but it's a nice little tool to use if you're interested in media and network effects. Nice work Google.