Frequently models of infectious diseases are used to model the way users grow in an online social network.
The logic is simple – disease contagion (e.g. Avian Flu) propagates in the ‘same way’ as the way people pick up new information about something cool (e.g. about a social network) and therefore subscribe to this particular network.
I was reading “On the predictability of infectious disease outbreaks” by Samuel V. Scarpino and Giovanni Petri, and was reminded that the link between disease spreading and people signing-up is but tenuous.
While the article does not even bother to try and make this link (being intelligent academics) I am drawn to these types of articles in order to get some insights and learn new mathematical and statistical techniques.
It is very easy to forget why you arrived at the point of confusing the two, so this is a footnote to self.