The Universe Beyond Twitter is an interactive re-creation of our solar system, but the sizes of each planets are altered to represent the proportionate scale of the top trending stories on Twitter.
With large news stories happening in Toronto and Canada, and all the social media buzz that resulted from that, I became fascinated by what gained traction on Twitter and social media. Not surprisingly, the social media world (or the world in general for that matter) has a tendency to focus on stories that are inconsequential, at least compared to the really important World issues currently happening. While writing this, and glancing at the trending topics in Toronto, one related to voting in the US, and the rest were about sports and entertainment.
This will appeal to visual learners and people who have a preference for data visualization. Since it’s also interactive, it could also be fun experience to cruise through this ‘warped’ solar system. It may also appeal to certain ‘artistic’ types who may like the idea of taking a very conventional, well recognized image and distorting it and giving it another, entirely different meaning.
(Though a more accurate example is Rubin’s solar system).
The biggest question I want to ask the class is: Any better ideas than a solar system? It’s been done a lot in ITP lately, between Rubin’s solar system, and Carter’s talk in Applications class. I thought of using a World map, but that’s going to be much harder to re-create. Otherwise, I’m a bit at a loss.
Here are a couple of Python Twitter examples I will need to pull from. I am also going to need the assistance of Ross Goodwin and 2nd years (all of which have kindly offered their help!).
I hope to write the Python ‘trending’ info to a .txt file, and have Processing interpret that file. Ideally, this interaction will keep happening in real time while the sketch is running, so, if we watch it long enough, we can see the planets growing or shrinking.
This is both a design and a data challenge that I’m looking forward to it! So far in ICM, I’ve tended to gravitate towards the ‘game’ aspect of programming, but this is a chance to work on my design and data visualization skills.