Recently in Media140 Category
October 21, 2010
Andrew Lyons - Ultraknowledge
The dataeconomy is about turning information into a usable asset - and an engaging experience. So, there's a reason to develop new business models. Lyons invested £100 in a quiz at the beginning (the money was the rewards) - he might get contacts, a drink, anything out of it at the end - but he's trying something new.
He's showing off his Twitterwall product, which draws out user icons, tweets and stats. Which came up with a 404. Oops. OK - working again. Lots of data sifting about the people who have tweeted with the #media140 hashtag - can this be used to identify the most influential people at the events? The product can build a relationship wheel to show you who is connected to whom amongst a Twitter community - and its being demonstrated with my relationships... *gulp*
They also work with publishers. They have archives - but now they need to think about how to wrap it up in new visual stimulus. They can create news walls for every sub-section of a publisher's website. They content's already there - they're just giving a new, enticing interface. Here's an example. You can search visually for things you're interested in. It's more of a discovery engine than a search one, perhaps - it's about finding things you don't know you might be interested in.
David McCandless - Information is Beautiful
Oh, look. David McCandless. I'be blogged his talks once or twice recently. He's kicking off with his billion dollar-a-gram. He scraped all the data for it from journalism sites, but he did it manually. Did it via searches on billion dollar amounts on sites. Drew the proportional shapes in Adobe Illustrator. And then played Tetris with them until the fitted together.
He sketches ideas for his visualisations, trying to match the style of the graphic to the feel of the data being conveyed - triangles are more conspiratorial, for instance...
Spreadsheets underlie a lot of his work - word processors are linear, while spreadsheets are multi-directional - and you can bring in live elements. They're very tidy, and they can be the start of a great design. Visualisations go through many drafts, as he works on the details of layout with the person commissioning it. The designer on the time travel visualisation left after the 13th of 14th draft. McCandless then realised that time travel was a chaotic thing, and that a visualisation that embraced that would work - and allowed you to see crossover points between various time-travel movies... Sometimes the form of the visualisation only emerges during the work - you discover the important data as you go.
What doesn't work? Too much spaghetti - not shaping the data with a story - just creates a mess. Circular diagrams often make little sense. Cartograms (based on geography) are over-used and the information is difficult to get out.
McCandless's bif FAIL:
Can you figure out why?
(Live-blogging - prone to error, omission and typos...)
Rufus Pollock from Open Knowledge Foundation
Wouldn't it be nice to know where our money goes when we pay taxes?
You need lots of stuff - government spending (local and regional), region codes, company data… Much of it locked up or in difficult formats like PDF…
We need raw data and we want it now…
Open = freedom to use, re-use, redistribute - but it must be non-personal. More and more businesses are being built on data (*cough* Reed Business Information *cough*) Data is non-rivalrous - if I give you a copy of my data, I haven't lost access to it (like my shoes or car). Information systems are the most complex systems we've ever built - and how do we deal with complexity? We break it down into bits. But if those bits are closed, it's very hard to put it all back together again.
Why open? Other people may come up with the best ideas of how to use the data - and we move towards a read-write society, where we no longer just passively consume information. Too much information is now locked up in closed systems like Google and Facebook? How do we change from that? How do we build an ecosystem around that outside these walled gardens?
Lots of back-end work needed…
Simon Rogers - The Guardian Datastore
Inspired by James Cameron - not the Avatar one - he was all about telling human stories and making things real, and Florence Nightingale, who made visualisations of troop casualties as well as nursing…
Guardian busy collecting and using data for journalism - why not share that? Lead to the setting up of the data blog. No longer journalists labouring in isolation, but others can pitch in and do things with the data.
Showing a bunch of examples - MPs Travel Expenses, the expenses crowd-sourcing - one person did 29k pages! Interest rapidly declined after first day. Sometimes too much data can swamp the story. Coins Data Explorer - built both for journalists and others to use.
Then he showed us an Excel spreadsheet of Afghanistan data, and showed how it could be used via a pivot table to feed a visualisation. It's probably quite straightforward, if you have the first clue about Excel, which I don't. :-)
Oh, and if you really want to get attention - do a Doctor Who visualisation…
January 13, 2010
October 26, 2009
- Be honest and transparent, don't lie or fake it.
- Company broadcasts problem
- Crowd offers solution
- Crowd vets solutions
- Company rewards winning suggestions