Twittervision Nails the Visualization

September 18th, 2007

I wrote recently about different visualization techniques used by Digg, Lijit and Twitter. I wrote that I didn’t think the Twitter Blocks developer, Stamen Labs, got it quite right. They did a brilliant job with Digg’s visualizations so I’m sure they’ll work out Twitter as well.

The challenge in creating visual representations of text data, it seems to me, is to capture the essence of what the site does.twitt.jpg Digg Stack beautifully captures both the flow of news across the Digg site and the voting element that (partially) distinguishes Digg from traditional news outlets.

Twitter is captivating for a couple of reasons. The “random discovery” element is fun- seeing what’s on people’s minds around the world. The more engaging element is following one’s friends.

Twitter Blocks goes after the latter, which is probably the harder nut to crack. Meanwhile, Twittervision hits the discovery nail right on the head. Watching the posts flow across the globe is mesmerizing.

A couple of requests, though- I’d like to see the tweets persist a little longer instead of fading out immediately when a new one comes up. I’d also like to see the history- it doesn’t seem to follow the Twitter timeline precisely and I can’t necessarily find interesting tweets easily.

If Stamen Labs can figure out how to combine Twittervision’s hypnotic visual timeline with the social relationship aspect that makes Twitter so engaging they will capture the full scope of the site perfectly. It’ll be fun to see.

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