Interesting article found at Datavisualization.ch

Oliver Reichenstein and his team focused on the 140 most important people on Twitter and named the Map accordingly Cosmic 140.

How it works

Concentric circles representing the years since the birth of Twitter work as the underlying refence system. The sphere is divided in topical sections to group users from different fields. The topics are Technology (unsurprizingly the biggest group), News, Journalism, Business, Politics, Humor, Sport, Music, Entertainement, Intelectuals and Art & Design. Each Username is displayed with additional data like List Rank, List Volume, Follower Volume or First Tweet

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Jeff Clark is a professional programmer who’s main interests are statistical analysis and data visualization. He has several data visualization projects that use Twitter as base. Visually his work is not that interesting but the analysis of information that can be interpreted from his visualization is worth studying. Some of his projects are:

TwitterVenn
Visualizes three search terms and returns a venn diagram showing how often a term is used and how frequent terms overlap in a single tweet.

Twitter Spectrum
Compares two search terms and shows which words are mostly associated with each term and which words are used the most in tweets in both terms.

TwitArcs
Shows a stream of a user’s tweets with arcs that link to common words betweens tweets and common retweets.

Stream Graph
Shows a search term and which are the frequent common words found with the specified term for the last 1,000 tweets.

An article found on Flowing Data shows 17 visualizations created using Twitter. I personally like the visual style and interaction of TweetPad, but it’s a shame there is no online application. In order to use it one must download an application. I found Twitterfountain to be interesting and quite easy to use. Combining Flickr and Twitter can create appealing visualizations. The simplicity allows the user to try out a lot of combinations of images and tweets.

An hour before the official annoucement of Osama Bin Laden’s death Keith Urbahn, a 27 year old chief of staff for former defense secretary Donal Rumsfeld tweeted “”So I’m told by a reputable person they have killed Osama Bin Laden. Hot damn.” The speculation about an important announcement was already set in motion in Twitter and many before Urbahn were speculating about what it could be. Some had guessed correctly that Osama Bin Laden had been killed. This created an attentive crowd so when Urbahn, a chief of staff, tweeted with such authority the message spreaded quickly. Among the people that re-tweeted the message was New York Times reporter Brian Selter giving the tweet more value and making it trustworthy.

Social flow has an incredible visual and written analysis on how a single tweet had a massive effect on the newsworld.

Newsmap is a project by design engineer Marcos Weskamp. The application shows Google News’ constant information update by its news aggregator. It visually divides the news in sections and links them to the article’s site.

From the designer’s website:

A treemap visualization algorithm helps display the enormous amount of information gathered by the aggregator. Treemaps are traditionally space-constrained visualizations of information. Newsmap’s objective takes that goal a step further and provides a tool to divide information into quickly recognizable bands which, when presented together, reveal underlying patterns in news reporting across cultures and within news segments in constant change around the globe.

Shuu-sh is an “experimental web toy” by London design consultancy studio Berg. The application creates a hierarchy of tweets by giving prominence to people that tweet little and putting in the background people that tweet a lot.

From the website:

Shuush is a prototype by BERG. It’s a web-based Twitter reader that displays the updates of the people you follow in relation to the frequency of their tweets. It aims to amplify the people that don’t usually get heard, and scale back those with frequent updates.

Biz Stone is one of Twitters founders. In the following article he discusses the role of Twitter in journalism.

The news applications surprised us… We noticed in prototypes early on, though, that things like earthquakes led to Twitter updates. The first Twitter report of the ground shaking during recent tremors in California, for example, came nine minutes before the first Associated Press alert. So we knew early on that a shared event such as an earthquake would lead people to look at Twitter for news almost without thinking.