Strength in numbers

Last month, organized an event in Brussels to gather European dataviz folks. As far as I’m concerned, the main output of that is that a handful of those present decided to create an informal discussion group to share ideas and promote data visualization. The group as it currently stands includes @datavis (@wiederkehr), @FILWD, @infosthetics, @janwillemtulp, @moritz_stefaner, @visualisingdata and myself (@jcukier).

Before going any further I invite you to follow any and all of these accounts you don’t yet follow on twitter. You would be in great company (see below).

This week I was looking at the Twitter API and had the idea to compare our respective friends and followers on twitter. We have very different profiles.
First, we are all based in a different country, except for @filwd and @moritz_stefaner who are both in Germany. Also the interest of our audiences are different.

Still, I was suprised to see that there was not that much overlap among our followers. For each of us, at least one third of our followers do not follow any of the other accounts. So, even for @infosthetics which has over 8000 followers, the collective audience of the group is approximately twice as much.

So anyway, I conducted some further analysis to answer some questions such as:

  • which accounts follow several of us, but not one specific account?
  • among the followers unique to an account, which have many followers? (ie @datavis is being followed, and occasionally RT’d, by @alyssa_milano!)
  • which accounts are being followed by many of us?

you can find the detail here.

So the 22 accounts that currently follow our 8 accounts are:
@JeffClark, @visualizingOrg, @akaiving, @BrianBBrian, @eagereyes, @densitydesign, @bestiario140, @krees, @cmulbrandon, @googlea, @pciuccarelli, @mathieubastian, @geovisual, @dominikus, @seedataltd, @thewhyaxis, @algonpage, @richard_jong, @SeeingStructure, @songobong, @2aziz1, @adizi.

thanks! my entry

I just posted my entry!

So here’s a little explanation about what I’ve done, how and why.

The idea behind the data provider web site, WhatWePayFor, is that billions and millions don’t talk to the average citizen. This doesn’t help them understand where their money goes.

And in my work, I generally try to show as little data as possible to make a point. And I like to use interactivity to involve users.

I got my idea from thinking back to the presentation made by Nick Diakopoulos at last Visweek. We had that workshop on data storytelling and Nick showed how to get user attention on a subject by letting them play and guess first. So here goes.

First, I wanted to let users play with data, in this case try to establish their priorities for federal budget spending. Where should money go?

I’ve manipulated this kind of figures a few times, so I know that USA has extreme positions on some “functions of spending”, like defense, or culture. Some rich countries that spend up to 7% of their budget on culture, and some who spend less than 0.1% of their budget on defense. Hint, the USA is not one of them.

So I’m hoping that the users will see differences between their preferences and the choices that the government makes in their names, and that from the differences will be striking enough for them to understand the orders of magnitude and possibly inspire them to take action.