To someone who doesn’t know, Twitter is difficult to explain. “So you can write 140 characters, huh? I can do that with Notepad. I don’t even need Microsoft Word. Ha ha ha.” This could be the end of a conversation about Twitter if it’s not use is not conveyed properly. Fortunately, there are a bunch of gifted individuals that have made the job a lot easier. Enter infographics and visualization.
Instead of explaining what Twitter is, showing what it is can be a lot easier when you have a video or a chart produced by someone with skill. I’ve added source references where I can find them (which seem to be missing in a lot of infographics compilations), so that you can more easily do research on your own. Without further explanation … from me … here’s what Twitter is.
Twitter in Plain English
Twitter infographics and visualizations can come in a lot of formats. In this post we’ll cover static images, but also the often overlooked visualizations provided by video. Also, because Twitter is all about sharing and being social, some of the infographics and media will cover other social platforms.
1. Twitter on Paper
One of the most recent, and arguably most attractive, data representations is the image created by Gerardo Obieta (@gobieta) using stats announced at Twitter’s 2010 Chirp conference that I found at Ask Aaron Lee.
2. The Path to 10 Billion Tweets
3. Twitter Stats
Writer/Designer David McCandless (@infobeautiful) curates the Information is Beautiful website, which is the source of three of the designs in this post. The Twitter Stats image highlights the behavior of Twitter users using by representing 100 people icons as 1% of Twitter users.
4. Chicks Rule!
Another Information is Beautiful blog post and graphic by David McCandless. Although this isn’t exclusively about Twitter, it shows how the social media juggernaut fits in with other genre sites with respect to gender balance. If you didn’t get it from the title, women tend to dominate the social media world.
5. The Hierarchy of Digital Distractions
The last of the three great diagrams found at Information is Beautiful. As with the previous one, this one shows how Twitter fits in the world of digital distractions. Twitter slides into every nook of the food chain below the iPhone, Digital Failure, and Spouse/Partner in this humorous representation.
6. The Google Buzz Privacy Fix
In February, Fast Company’s “Infographic: How Google Quashed Privacy Concerns Over Google Buzz” article featured the talent of Bryan Connor (@bryanconnor). His graphic mirrors the conclusions of Fast Company writer Cliff Kuang by showing the correlation of negative sentiment about privacy (as measured by Twitter activity) falling as Google acted with development fixes.
7. Information Creation & Circulation Before and After Twitter
Samuel Degremont of global PR agency Burson-Marseller speculates in an article titled “Are sensational topics the only way for journalism to face Twitter’s success?” that the “news” as crowdsourced through Twitter is becoming more relevant, although more focused on sensational topics rather than serious ones. I don’t necessarily agree, but Degremont’s images of how news was distributed before Twitter and today are eye-opening.
8. Facebook vs. Twitter
Having knocked out MySpace to take the social networking heavyweight title, Facebook stands alone as the king of the heap. But, talented up-and-comer Twitter has thoughts of its own in this Flickr infographic that demonstrates how the two match up.
9. Cosmic 140: The 140 Most Influential Twitter Users
The first of two highly detailed and data intensive infographics from the geniuses at Information Architects (@ia). The Cosmic 140 map shows the name, handle, category, influence, and activity of the world’s top Twitterers along with when they started and their first post. It graphically represents their sphere and areas of influence.
10. Web Trend Map 4: The State of the Web Mapped onto Tokyo’s Metro System
The second graphic from Information Architect’s creators Oliver Reichenstein (@ia) and Chris Lüscher (@iA_Chris). This visualization was so popular that they gave it it’s own Twitter page (@webtrendmap). Like a few of the previous images, Twitter is only presented as a member of a larger ecosystem. You can find it along the train tracks and at the end point of the purple line.
11. Twitter Facts and Figures
A tall and comprehensive graphic that rivals all the others in this list in the amount of data presented. The image was created for the blog of SiteImpulse (@siteimpulse)-managed company Website-Monitoring.com.
12. Twitter Territory: How States Compare to the Average U.S. Twitter Grade
Hubspot (@hubspot) is a great resource for social media marketing and the Twitter Territory diagram helps demonstrate why. Using information collected via their twitter.grader.com tool, Hubspot was able to create this display of Twitter grades (i.e. influence) as an aggregrated score per state across the U.S.
13. If You Printed Twitter…
Originally popularized by this Huffington Post article (@huffingtonpost), and created by the onlin ink cartridge store CartridgeSave (@cartridgesave) the super tall image shows how much paper we save by not writing down tweets.
14. What Color is Twitter
About a month ago Mashable (@mashable) writer Josh Catone (@catone) posted this infographic that answers a very design-oriented question. The image was produced by Infochimps (@infochimps), a massive source of Twitter data.
15. IS Parade
The ISparade.jp web site produces a real-time 3D rendering of Twitter users and search terms (oddly, I couldn’t find a Twitter page for them). Instead of a graphic, though, here’s a YouTube video showing the results of a parade generated by the term “labnol”.
16. State of the Internet
17. Just Landed
According to his Twitter bio, Jer Thorp (@blprnt) is a software artist, writer, and educator. It probably took a lot of each of those skills to produce this animation. Thorp took the phrase “Just landed” and matched the destination mentioned to the Twitter author’s base location to produce this interesting video.
18. South by SouthWest (SXSW) Vicarious.ly Visualization
Geo-data company SimpleGeo (@SimpleGeo) took data from a number of social media sources to produce this video of tweets and other message sources by location in the Austin area during this year’s SXSW festival. The experience was well captured in this VizThink (@VizThink) blog post titled “The Ebb & Flow of South by Southwest“.