Thursday, November 29, 2012

Sandy's emotional tweeting

The following is an animated "heat map" style map from SGI and the University of Illinois showing the positives/negative nature of tweets as Hurricane Sandy passed through. It's similar to me to the Sandy-related flight delays map from FlightStats that I posted about a few weeks ago. Thing is, SGI is supposed to have this amazing visualization technology as frankly this video, while interesting, leaves me unimpressed.  Why did they leave this as a choppy snapshot type almost stop-motion animation rather than showing the heatmap fluidly morphing over time?  That would have been very much easier to follow and see the patterns develop in relation to the hurricane. Did they only collect tweet data hourly or something?  Why so infrequently?  Is continuous tweet data not available? I can understand the wisdom of packaging the data in hourly tranches, but its very hard to follow this data in this animation with it being show choppy.

And, to get a little nit-picky, I'd like to see how this animation compares to a similar animation showing the "background" or "baseline" emotional tweet data.  In other words, what would this type of heatmap look like during a less meteorologically exciting period or baseline?  How did the emotional nature of tweets during Sandy differ from a similar, more mundane period?

This does, however, remind me of a pre-Twitter art project that's still running called "We Feel Fine"  that I posted about last year where somebody mapped the emotional nature of posts that it found on webblogs.  

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