Visualising (not so) Big Data

Facebook is a frequently used source for information. We do not know all kinds of such data queries and reutilisations……. But we know some amazing visualsations made out of these big data.

Faces of Facebook

Here’s by Natalia Rojas: 2013-12-01_facesfacebookMore than

2013-12-01_facesfacebook0on one page.

And here I am lost in pixels

2013-12-01_facesfacebook3and with an image.

2013-12-01_facesfacebook4Guess who is number 1 in facebook?

With a little bit of narcissism

If one loves to be part of an exhibition facebook is the source, too. And Intel provides the exhibition on


2013-12-01_museumofme2The words I used in facebook:

2013-12-01_museumofme4And my graph.



At the end of some minutes editing this blog there were 166 new faces on facebook

2013-12-01_facebook#And this happens in an Internet minute according to :


End of the Web

DAVID GELERNTER ( wrote an article in Wired 02.01.13 with a very definitive title:

The End of the Web, Search, and Computer as We Know It


‘ … today, the most important function of the internet is to deliver the latest information, to tell us what’s happening right now. That’s why so many time-based structures have emerged in the cybersphere: to satisfy the need for the newest data. Whether tweet or timeline, all are time-ordered streams designed to tell you what’s new.’ …’ By adding together every timestream on the net — including the private lifestreams that are just beginning to emerge — into a single flood of data, we get the worldstream: a way to picture the cybersphere as a whole. No one can see the whole worldstream, because much of the information flowing through it is private. But everyone can see part of it.

This future doesn’t just kill the operating system, browser, and search as we know it — it changes the meaning of “computer” as we know it, too. Whether large or small (e.g., a smartphone), a computer’s main function in the near future will be tuning in to — as a car radio tunes in a broadcast station — the constantly flowing global cyberflow. We won’t care much about the computer devices themselves since we’ll be more focused on the world of information … and our lives as attached to it.’

Trivial, revolutionary? A Fact to be considered!

Given all the already existing stream aggregators like Squirro, netvibes, Flipboard, Google Currents etc. etc. does this not sound quite trivial? May be, but it’s a fact to be considered in designing information sites. What’s the role of static websites, RSS feeds, SEO, linked twitter accounts and all the social media in the context of this (not so) new user behaviour?

Will we use in the future mainly virtual websites built on (semantic) searches adapted to our interests … and going to specific websites only (and rarely) when there’s a need to dig deeper?  Challenging situation!

Social Media – Infographical Information

Social Media are state of the art.

But which one to use, which one to follow? Mobile,  desktop?

See the infographics by about Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Linkedin.

Pages-vs-Plus1–> more

And it’s mobile and it’s Africa!



Two People – One Opinion

‘Social Media Are Here to Stay’

sm-part1Interview, Credit Suisse Bulletin, September 27, 2012. IPad Edition


Crowd sourced stats

Everybody knows the crowd sourced open street map.


There are also a crowd sourced stats: numbeo. Self declaration of is as follows:

‘Numbeo is the biggest free database of user contributed data about cities and countries worldwide, especially living conditions: cost of living, housing indicators, health care systems, traffic, crime and pollution.’

It’s not the (harmonized) price index statistical agencies disseminate. It’s much more pragmatic and useful for detailed information about single prices at specific locations.

I didn’t compare with official indexes. To do this would be an interesting task … and a quality check.

RSS aka twitter

In their using twitter as a social media Statistical Institutes are in good company.

A new study asks what role twitter plays for news organisations and says:  …. that 13 major news organizations ‘use Twitter in limited ways-primarily as an added means to disseminate their own material. Both the sharing of outside content and engagement with followers are rare. The news content posted, moreover, matches closely the news events given priority on the news organizations’ legacy platforms.’

‘For nearly every news organization, Twitter has become a regular part of the daily news outreach. But there are questions about how those organizations actually use the technology: How often do they tweet? What kind of news do they distribute? To what extent is Twitter used as a new reporting tool or as a mechanism for gathering insights from followers?’

Nieman Journalism Lab (Megan Garber) summarizes:

‘As much as we tout Twitter for its conversational abilities — for its revolutionary capacity to create discursive, rather than simply distributive, relationships with news consumers — many major news organizations are still using the service as, pretty much, a vehicle for self-promotion. ……Twitter functions as an RSS feed or headline service for news consumers, with links ideally driving traffic to the organization’s website.’ … ‘As a microscopic — and, also, telescopic — look into news outlets’ practices, the study’s findings offer a pretty strong counterargument to the assumption that social media in general, and Twitter in particular, are ushering in a golden age of audience engagement, democratic discourse, etc., etc.’

Visualisation reduced to the max: sparklines

Sparklines are small diagrams which can be inserted in a text. They give a fast impression of an evolution, so for instance this sparkline ▇▇▇▅▃▁▇▅▃▇▅▃  . It shows the number of views of this blog over two weeks.

A sparkline generator can be found here: And sparklines can be inserted into tweets!

Facebook offers micro-sites

Facebook is (in terms of figures) the most important ecosystem. And it attacks more and more traditional web sites. Starting in March facebook pages get new functionalities and  it will be possible to create micro-sites on facebook pages.

‘One particular item is emerging with perhaps the greatest challenge and the highest potential for Page owners — there is a new way to present custom content on Facebook Pages. Tabs and FBML are going away. Get ready to friend iFrames. ‘ (mashable)

‘iFrames are not new. An iFrame is a standard HTML tag that allows one page to be inserted into another. It would seem like a pretty obvious way for Facebook Page owners to customize content … “ The evolution of Facebook becoming the replacement for the branded micro-site is well on its way.” Jascha Kaykas-Wolff of Involver’

More on mashable!

ecosystem challenges

We live in ecosystems

The original highly biologically characterized definition is meanwhile modified. The term of ecosystem is used for a multitude of environments we live in and we interact with. There are  i.e. information-communication ecosystems where people get and discuss informations..

So the news aggregator netvibes calls the ‘Dashboard Widget Directory’ with its widgets to be integrated in netvibes as well as in Mac OS X, Google and Windows Vista a ‘ecosystem‘.

Here are some statistical widgets of netvibes’ ecosystem:

Statistics Spain, Census Bureau population estimates, Statistics Switzerland widget and netvibes universe.

App stores

Others are building ecosystems where people can get their software applications for specific platforms – be it for desktop or tablets or mobile phones. Apple opened its app store for mobile devices some time ago and for personal computers in January, Google did the same for Chrome and even the Windows platform has its app store (who knows this?).

Some say there’s a ‘war of ecosystems’. CEO Elop of Nokia expressed this clearly and dramatically before announcing the collaboration between Nokia and Microsoft:

“The battle of devices has now become a war of ecosystems, where ecosystems include not only the hardware and software of the device, but developers, applications, ecommerce, advertising, search, social applications, location-based services, unified communications and many other things. Our competitors aren’t taking our market share with devices; they are taking our market share with an entire ecosystem. This means we’re going to have to decide how we either build, catalyse or join an ecosystem.”

(Is Nokia burning? The internal memo from Stephen Elop to all Nokia’s employees. 9.2.2011)

Challenge for Content Providers

So why could all this be of importance for content providers like newspapers or statistical offices?

It’ s important because the paths to reach the customers and information seekers are dramatically changing. And there are not only platform-oriented ecosystems which are in (commercial) war and are trying to convince people to follow them. There are also application-based ecosystems like facebook running on all platforms which try to attract and to bind people.

Some time ago a browser-based information accessible on all platforms was the only and sufficient solution. Diversity in offers was necessary to fit the needs of diverse user categories (like ‘tourists,  farmers and miners’), reaching from storytelling with text and visualisations up to databases and access via api or web sevices.

Now in times of apps running outside browsers the question is a bigger one: In which ecosystem(s) with what kind of apps should we be active in order to be seen and to deliver the information people should know

Lost in Social Media

There are lots of applications offering the possibility to publish our personal impressions and meanings to friends and to the general public. And there are lots of companies behind it trying to get tons of subscribers and gaining money from advertisers.

Look at this overview …

or this one of twitter alone …

… and you will be lost.

What to use with which effects? Use one or many? Publish some text  in WordPress or in twitter, upload some commented pictures in flickr or Picasa and transfer (feed) all this automatically to facebook and Google Buzz … or the other way round or …??

There are other companies built on this question, a whole new industry has emerged. Which one to choose (if any) to help us reaching which objectives with social media? And do we really need social media?

A lot of fascinating questions! Fortunately the year has just begun to find the appropriate answer -;)

For the moment I personally prefer a blog (this one) and I love twitter (because there are no ads … not yet).


Some more links: