…and then the world

“where nothing we’ve actually seen has been mapped or outlined…”

Archive for October 2008

Spread and measurement

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A few cool tools and projects looking at the spread of memes and discussion across blogs, and also a barometer of what is being linked to by different sides of, and across, the ideological divide between political blogs. [Yes, I’m a bit behind with this…]

First, via Data Mining and Linkfluence, the team at Presidential Watch 08 (run by Linkfluence and mentioned previously) have released videos and data showing the spread of John McCain’s celebrity ad across the blogosphere, and also the response video from Paris Hilton (and yes, I may have doomed my blog for eternity with three of the four words before the parentheses). It is fairly close to part of what I’d like to ideally do for my project, that being using the pre-existing map created in June, and overlaying the spread of the memes on the map. The John McCain map is here, and the Paris Hilton map is here.

Second, via Ethan Zuckerman, Shifting the Debate is a site developed by Morningside Analytics that measures “the movement of ideas through social networks”, again focusing on the US political blogosphere (apparently there’s something important happening next week). Their main tool so far is the Political Video Barometer, showing the most popular videos being linked to by conservative and liberal bloggers, be they campaign spots, interviews, viral videos, or even Wassup 2008. Again, it’s something I’d like to feature in my research – one of the people involved in Morningside, John Kelly, also co-authored a paper (with Bruce Etling) on the Persian-language blogosphere earlier this year which, as well as identifying thematic clusters within the network, also categorised groups of sites being linked to (such as international news sites), and saw which groups were linking to what. Ethan Zuckerman’s write-up of the Political Video Barometer is very informative and humorous, while Bruce Etling has also discussed it, so I’d recommend you read those for analysis, but I’ll quote a section of Zuckerman’s post here (and thus get to feature something else I meant to blog a while ago):

What’s the most popular video evenly linked by liberals and conservatives? Turns out we can all agree that remaking eighties music videos by narrating what happens in inexplicably trippy videos is an excellent idea. Yes, we all love the literal version of Take On Me. Perhaps there’s hope for political compromise in the United States after all.


Written by Tim

29 October, 2008 at 3:16 pm

maps from earlier days

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A few maps and sites that I found while researching my Ignite paper but didn’t include (often because they weren’t what I was researching) and forgot to blog:

from Princeton’s International Networks Archive, non-geographic mapping, reorganising the placement of cities around the world based on the travel time between a chosen hub and the remaining cities (in the screenshot above, Sydney is acting as the hub). Transport methods include “elephant ride into jungle”, “walk around very crowded city”, and so on. [via Ethan Zuckerman’s …My heart’s in Accra]

This specific map I did feature, briefly, in my presentation: MapTube, a site for sharing, creating, and doing mash-up type things with maps. A variety of visualisations there, including such maps as global Big Mac prices, UK credit crunch maps, and the above geographically-correct London Underground as an overlay on Google Maps map of the Greater London area. A lot of London-specific and UK maps so far, although as it’s run by University College London, that’s not unsurprising. [via The Map Room]

And some links for today:

Written by Tim

6 October, 2008 at 5:15 pm

Posted in maps, visualisation

which way up? drawing and reading maps of the blogosphere

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My presentation at Ignite was about maps of the blogosphere, the kind of approaches used, and the information provided by different formats. Rather than being specifically related to my current research, I wanted to investigate this topic as it may form part of my phd later on, and also because it involved maps and I wanted a break from all the theory I’d been reading and writing about for my proposal.

The presentation went okay, I think, although through my nervous state at the time I don’t remember what I said. There were a lot of questions, though, and some excellent feedback and positive comments about what I’d presented, with several people being similarly inspired by maps. I’ve written up some notes from the questions as part of my new writing routine, which I’ll try and use in follow-up work. The paper itself, I haven’t decided what to do with it, whether it’ll be submitted for the proceedings journal or not (I’ll make my mind up over the next few days), but it’ll either be linked to or uploaded here later.

Powerpoint, with pictures and slideshare’s wonderful “mucking up the text formatting” abilities:

Written by Tim

6 October, 2008 at 1:58 pm

Ignite – Round-up

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I was going to liveblog Ignite, but time during the sessions eluded me, and then being away for most of the weekend for the Gold Coast Half Ironman (and its associated heat and sun-related headaches) have meant the delay of the round-up until now.

Rather than post the liveblogging notes, then, this post will be about a conference that was particularly exciting and rewarding, well run by Sue Carson and the postgrad committee, and full of pleasantly intriguing presentations from across the Creative Industries faculty.

Part of my stress last week when I was preparing my presentation was the knowledge that the presenters and attendees of the conference were from the various Creative Industries schools – such as visual arts, music, film, fashion, dance, journalism, and creative writing – and, from my experience last semester, most of the postgrads would probably be undertaking practice-led research. Not coming from that background, I was a little worried about how my presentation might go, particularly when in the same session as particularly creative projects. However, it all seemed to go okay (I’ll cover my presentation in a separate post).

The conference itself was opened on Wednesday evening with a series of displays, screenings, and performances, including the Robobongo All Stars (a live band accompanied by Robobongo, described as a “musical percussion robot”), HarmonyGrid (live interactive music, involving a projected grid which influences the music being played), Crash Paper Music for Robots (stop-motion animation, screencaps from games, and music), and Edge of Colour (live electronic music). I didn’t get to see all of these in action (I was co-opted to stand behind the bar) but there was a lot of interesting, dedicated work on show.

The keynote address on Thursday morning was provided by Hugh Kearns from Flinders University. Although the subject of the talk was the discussion that every postgrad hears many times, that being how to get the work done and manage time efficiently, it was handled with realistic expectations and understanding of what postgrads generally do (such as avoid work). There were some useful tips and strategies, though, and I think that is a large part of what I got out of the conference: different approaches and perspectives to work and projects that I probably wouldn’t have thought of myself.

The bulk of the next two days of conference were taken up with papers from across the faculty, divided into streams that were sometimes more related than others. The talks obviously reflect vastly different projects and approaches, but they were all fascinating and well-prepared, and just to have the opportunity to see what other postgrads are doing and the wealth of research happening in other fields is incredible.

However, despite seeing many presentations, performances, and a few games of boules, my highlights were the panel discussions as the last sessions of both Thursday and Friday. On Friday, several postgrads, again from different fields, talked about working across the borders, or ignoring them altogether, between disciplines, combining visual arts, film, music, photography, fashion, and beyond that into science, IT, and other subjects, the ability to study what they want to be doing without having to fit into one particular area, and the benefits and problems that can come about from it. Thursday, on the other hand, saw six creative writing postgrads read a brief excerpt of their own writing and talk about both it and what they read for their research or inspiration. As to be expected from what else happened at the conference, the six writers were covering very different approaches and themes in their writing, and to be able see and hear the work being created here, and its quality, is constantly astonishing. I wasn’t sure what to expect from Ignite, even after submitting an abstract and working on a paper, other than a lot of panic, but to be exposed to the work of other postgrads, and the practices and methods being used, was more rewarding than I would have even thought possible. There were some fascinating discussions generated after presentations, and the chance to speak to people I’d seen in the corridors but never spoken to, and to see what kind of work they were doing. Ultimately, it didn’t matter that my work wasn’t entirely related to the other presentations in the same session; instead, everything is different but welcome, and sitting through session after session on the same topics wouldn’t have had the same effect as watching and listening to a bit of everything.

Written by Tim

6 October, 2008 at 1:45 pm

Posted in conference, ignite, qut

Ignite 08

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This evening Ignite 08, the QUT Creative Industries postgrad conference, kicks off with several screenings and performances, before two days of presentations, performances, and discussions here at the Creative Industries Precinct. Although the conference is meant to be relaxed and a way for postgrads to talk about their work with each other in a supportive setting, preparing my presentation has still been rather stressful! I’m still getting back into the giving talks mindset, having somehow gone three years without having to present, so there are a few nerves about discussing my research in a conference environment, even if it is mostly amongst postgrads.

My presentation is in the first post-lunch session tomorrow afternoon, in a ‘new media/performance’ stream, which could be interesting – certainly the other talks look very exciting, from the abstracts. Depending on time and other work, I’ll try posting some comments from other talks during the conference, as well as my slides after my presentation. I’m not sure about whether I’ll be able to put the paper itself up, but if I get the chance it’ll be uploaded here too (and I’d imagine to eprints).

The paper I’m presenting is Which way up? Drawing and reading maps of the blogosphere, chosen partly because I wanted a break from the theories that had been driving my proposal and felt like having a look at mapping research instead. I’m not sure how much of what I’ve written on the slides is that important, but there are certainly some nice pictures! Researching this paper has also given me a chance to see some more approaches to mapping spaces such as the blogosphere, which may be useful later in the phd.
Having been in Perth for the last couple of weeks too, I’ve been able to spend some time in the Reid Library at UWA, in particular perusing the well-read pages (mostly by me over the last year and a bit) of Else/where, sadly out of print but heartily recommended, even if, being two years old now, some of it is not quite as relevant as it was when I first found it…

Written by Tim

1 October, 2008 at 2:56 pm

Posted in conference, ignite, qut