Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Two Visualizations of the #Emeraldgate Explosion: One Datalicious. One LOL.

I was wondering why the Emerald Viewer story seemed to generate more intense reaction from the Second Life community than just about any other controversy in the last two years.  It seemed like analyzing Twitter activity might shed some light on the question.

First, I created this word cloud from tweets which included the #emeraldgate tag. (Placement of the words doesn't matter, only the size. The larger the word, the higher its frequency.) As you can discern in a glance, the retweet (RT) is what fueled the explosion, sparked by a handful of originators whose tweets were RT'd by a larger pool of participants. A textbook case of the power of the social network. You can click through for a larger image.

Emerald Cloud

The second visualization is from a wild site called "IS Parade" which creates an animated parade from a Twitter user name or text phrase, including tweeps and tweet excerpts. It really gets across the crowdsource roots of the #emeraldgate meme.


Professor Loire said...

That's a great visualization of data, Bot. I think there might be a better audio-lization of the data, but why quibble with what I am assuming the program IS Parade did.

By the way, you asked on twitter why #emeraldgate is getting so much more attention than other controversies, and I think it is because of the way it involves three interrelated elements: 1) the importance of the interface through which people experience the virtual world, 2) the issue of surface appearance and deeper reality, and 3) the relationships between Linden Lab and the people who literally make Second Life, whether through creating content or 3rd party viewers, with all that entails. --L1Aura Loire

Botgirl Questi said...

Ha. Yes. The audio was from IS Parade.

I think the points you mentioned all contributed to the "perfect storm" of #emeraldgate (along with the catchy hashtag.) I personally find the community's reaction to the issue more interesting than the actual incidents that sparked it.

I guess on a subconscious level, the interface into Second Life is an extension of the person. There's been research showing the brain treats frequently used tools (including software tools) like parts of the body.

The surface/reality dimension can certainly kick up emotions related to prior life events dating back all the way to learning that your parents lied to you about Santa or even getting torn from the breast after birth to be dumped into a hospital bullpen.

I think the third issue you brought up may be less of an issue, but certainly a factor in some people's reaction, especially the conspiracy theory enthusiasts among us.

Indigo Mertel said...

Very nice visualization! I had a big laugh when I saw Finn Poitier leading the #EmeraldGate parade... :D

I wonder why my name is so big. I even stopped tweeting about the #EmeraldGate for a while. Hmm... maybe it was that little spat with Prok? :)

Anonymous said...

How'd Hamlet land a sweet gig playing the cowbell?

(top of video at 1:58)?



Botgirl Questi said...

Outside of the sheer fun of it, that IS Parade does an incredible job of visualizing and humanizing/avatarizing social network relationships and the flow of a meme.