The flood of data on Twitter can become overwhelming, with a huge amount of information that’s hard to clarify. Twitter has been encouraging third parties to build tools to help users make sense of the influx of information.
NBC teamed with Stamen Design to create data visualizations for the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, based on the chatter and keyboards popping up on Twitter. The result is NBC Olympics Twitter Tracker.
The new application blurs the lines between TV and real-time social updates and offers a visual story around individual athletes, sports and other aspects of the Olympics.
Stamen Design, founded in San Francisco in 2001, specializes in providing live views of social networks as they happen. Its work most frequently takes two forms: mapping and data visualization.
While maps are one way to view large amounts of data, Stamen uses “objects to think with,” which creates a perception that allows one’s eyes to understand immediately what words may fail to say.
In addition to doing NBC’s work on the Olympics, Stamen created a visual reference for Google’s “In the News” sidebar, providing an archive of popular news items, links to headlines and a method for comparing news item performance over time. From 2004 to 2005, it provided a unique view on the 2004 presidential election and tracked how stories about world events erupted and subsided.