Here is a potential social science experiment that leverages APOD and might be doable and interesting. To start, I just read an online article about the effect of social factors on the popularity of something like a book or a song:
That article links to this relevant paper:
The article in particular seems to conclude that social factors are huge and quality is not really so important. So my thought is that the popularity of social factors might be tested on space images by APOD and its social mirror sites. In question form, how correlated is the popularity of space images between independent APOD social mirror sites? If the general above premise is right, then what is popular on one APOD social mirror site like FB Sky should not also be popular on FB Horizon and/or FB Universo and/or G+ River. Conversely, in fact, I have recently been using popularity of images on those sites to predict the popularity of those same images on APOD itself, and seem to be finding a strong correlation. I had thought this was much like "focus groups" used to see if advertising campaigns might be popular. But now I am wondering if this can be the basis for a real scientific study. If anyone is interested in pursuing this, please send me an email.
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