Saturday, 5 April 2008

DATA VISUALISATION AND THE DIFFUSION OF IDEAS

The site Digg.com describes itself as follows: a place for people to discover and share content from anywhere on the web. From the biggest online destinations to the most obscure blog, Digg surfaces the best stuff as voted on by our users.

The content that is dugg generates a buzz and goes viral. This means the sort of stuff we once talked about at the water cooler now shoots invisibly through cyberspace. And now with social media we now have ways of visualizing this once invisible data. And my view is that once you can see this noise, you can start to plan for it, and even influence and control it. One of my favourites is how Digg is visualised by a firm called Stamen Design out of San Francisco.

This video shows an idea called Digg Swarm and how iPhone stories are being picked up, dugg, and go viral, and connect with other related stories.



Stamen describes Digg Swarm as: a lyrical view of Digg. Stories come in as circles with the title inside of them, and diggers "swarm" around these stories when they digg them. Every time a story gets dugg, it increases in size — so the bigger the story, the more active it is. As people digg more stories, they move from circle to circle, and increase in size. You might see enormous diggers moving quickly from story to story; those seem to be people digging without taking the time to read stories... Stories that are closer together are being dugg by the same users, and you can roll over stories to see these connections. The thicker the line, the more diggers in common that story has—which starts to suggest connections between stories over time.

You can see Digg Swarm in real time here

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