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3D Visualization of the Living, Breathing Twitterverse [Infographic Video]

Imagine watching a story spread across Twitter in real time. How does it look? Lines zipping from one node to another? If your visualization starts on a 2 dimensional piece of paper, you aren’t thinking like the folks in the New York Times R&D Lab. They’ve gone beyond 2D and into 3D in order to fully visualize how stories spread on Twitter.

The visualization of the Twitterverse really looks like a galaxy, complete with orbital rings, brightly colored nodes, and a vast black backdrop. It’s called Project Cascade, and it is a model that visualizes the life cycle of a story on Twitter.

Here’s how it works:

Each “event” on the social web is graphed as a node on the visualization. An event can be something like visiting a web page, shortening the link using Bit.ly, sharing it on Twitter, or clicking a shortened link in a tweet. These nodes are cascaded onto one another on a timeline, so you can see how a story began, was shared, and how long it was talked about on Twitter.

What’s cool about Project Cascade is that it can be used to get a general overview of an event: showing the first tweet at time zero and graphing it all the way until the retweets stopped. Within this data, you can see how long it was talked about, and by how many people on Twitter. You can also zoom into the data more, to view key events in the series: the big influencer tweets that sparked hundreds of retweets, for instance.

Project Cascade is developed by Jer Thorp and UCLA professor Mark Hansen.

via Fast Company’s Co.Design

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