One of the things I am really interested in is how to make use of the data that his being made available to organisations out there embarking on a social software journey. To that end I have often had to ask myself the million dollar question ‘so what’ when any new visualization software comes along offering yet another view on the data from Twitter/Facebook/FourSquare and so on. There seems to be so many software houses and lone wolf developers taking advantage of the API’s to generate data visualizations on hash tags or @names. The big question on their minds should be the million dollar question.
One of the better representations of Twitter information is xefer from which I’ve taken the image above. Basically it takes your user name or #hashtag and queries the stored data which Twitter has to build out a data visualization. The technicalities behind this are not as complex as you may have first thought. xefer has used Yahoo Pipes which is a high level auto code generator based upon a drag-and-drop style design surface. The pipe generator allows you to select a source, link it to a series of computational modules before pushing the resulting data out to a desired API, in the above case, the Google Charts API.
So what does the chart show? Well basically it’s my tweet history over a defined period showing when I’m most active and my reach across my Twitter network. The bigger the bubble, the more tweets I made and the more retweets and replies I received. The chart is organised into a matrix of information with day and time as the Y and X axis. It’s easy to read and provides me with personal data which can be interpreted to say that I tween more in the morning as I get up and later in the afternoon as I ramp down.
Now the real power of this would be if you could collect and analyse data using pipes and data visualization techniques to show sentiments across the blogosphere and or twitter universe to show how your marketing campaign may be running or how relevant your personal profile may be if your a celebrity of note. It could be quite powerful stuff. There are of course pay-per-use SaaS models from providers such as trendrr but these come with a fee.
The world of data consumption is out there, grab it by the neck and give it a shake.