Tracking Your Social Media Heartbeat

June 16 2015

Have you checked your social media pulse recently? Yeli Arenyeka, a student at New York University, decided to make this possible by building an app that helps people visualize their relationships with social media. Called Life in Digital, it presents users with a snapshot of their social media usage in the form of an electrocardiogram readout.

Screenshot of Life in Digital

“Our time on social media is measured in moments, not successive hours. I wouldn’t be able to tell you how much time I spent on Facebook today,” she said. “Being on our phones and using social media networking sites has become so entrenched in our minds that we do not know when and how much we’re doing it.”

Life in Digital uses Temboo’s Processing SDK and Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr Choreos to gather information on an individual’s social media usage, and then displays that information in intervals of a specified length of time. The data points appear as heartbeats on an electrocardiograph, allowing users to see how often and how heavily they engage with social media. You can find the code for the app on Github, and see more of Yeli’s work on her website and on Twitter.

Have you checked your social media pulse recently? Yeli Arenyeka, a student at New York University, decided to make this possible by building an app that helps people visualize their relationships with social media. Called Life in Digital, it presents users with a snapshot of their social media usage in the form of an electrocardiogram […]

When a Virus Goes Viral

December 17 2014

The Ebola epidemic in West Africa has been in the news lately, and it captured the attention of NYU ITP Master’s student Craig Pickard. Craig was intrigued by the way that the portrayal of the disease by the media influenced reactions to it in the United States, and in particular by the way that social media was able to rapidly disseminate information and connect large groups of people. He decided to design an interface to display exactly what happens when something “goes viral” on social media, and chose to use an actual virus as his focal point.

“If we take a minute to stop and think about what we mean when we say that something on the Internet has ‘gone viral,’ it becomes apparent that a comparison is being drawn between the way in which information spreads and the way an infectious disease might: presumably at an exponential rate. I thought it would be an interesting idea to represent visually how the spread of information, through a network like Twitter, resembles the spread of an infectious disease through the human population.”

Craig built a data visualization program that takes data from Twitter and illustrates how individual Tweets relate to and influence one another:

“I wanted to show the way in which information spreads across a network, likening it to the way a virus might spread from cell to cell in the human body. For this reason, I chose to represent the data I extracted from Twitter as cell-like organisms, moving independently of one another while still forming part of a larger system. Each particle stores data specific to that Tweet, such as the user’s ID, the actual Tweet text, the number of times it’s been retweeted, and a list of the other hashtagged words the Tweet contains.”

To make this possible, Craig used Temboo’s Twitter Choreos and Processing SDK. He designed two processes around the Choreos to drive the visualization: the first imports one hundred recent and popular Tweets that include a specified hashtag (in this case, #ebola) to populate the program, and the second runs every thirty seconds after that to import ten new hashtagged Tweets.

Finally, with the mechanism behind the program up and running, Craig gave his visualization an interactive component:

“I decided to try and simulate the meticulous and calculated feel of a laboratory environment, where movements are small and delicate. I wanted the user to have a feeling that they were physically interacting with the data in much the same way a lab technician would handle live virus samples. To mimic a sterile environment, I wanted the user to have no actual physical contact with the application (further reinforcing the theme of disease and how it spreads). As a result, I decided on using the Leap Motion controller, as it provides a high degree of accuracy, has a well documented library for Processing, and allows for delicate and precise gestures like the pinching of thumb and forefinger.”

Using the Leap Motion controller, viewers of the project can grab individual elements in order to manipulate them and inspect the Tweets they represent.

Although Ebola made for an interesting and topical initial examination, the visualization does just as good a job at displaying the propagation of any hashtag on Twitter. It’s a cool project, and a great way to understand a bit more about how viral content spreads, and how appropriate “viral” is as a descriptor for information spread in the social media age.

The Ebola epidemic in West Africa has been in the news lately, and it captured the attention of NYU ITP Master’s student Craig Pickard. Craig was intrigued by the way that the portrayal of the disease by the media influenced reactions to it in the United States, and in particular by the way that social […]

A Planetarium with Sense and Sensibility

July 24 2014

Today, the more interactive the entertainment, the better—there’s an incomparable stimulant when a user’s actions affect the plot unfolding in front of his or her eyes. This principle drove a group of students at Kutztown University to make their campus planetarium interactive. “It is definitely a more meaningful experience when you can actually have a part in the show rather than just sitting back and watching,” explained Nate Renninger, a designer of the project.

“In simple terms, our project is a visualizer that uses multiple instruments, one being Twitter, to manipulate the appearance of an animation [projected onto the Planetarium’s ceiling]. This project was the result of a pitch our group had during the Interdisciplinary Team Project class taught by the brilliant Professor Josh Miller. We had a lot of motivation to do this because we wanted to create a way for each student to interact with the Planetarium like never before.”

The project in action.

The four pupils, Nate Renninger, Brandon Stack, Nicole Cresse, and Michael Pandel, created their responsive animation using Processing, Beads (for the music), and Temboo, particularly our Twitter Choreos. The audio came from different instruments and was digitized with an audio interface box. Adobe After Effects was used to create the array of images that played during the “mood” transitions of the exhibit.

These moods, ranging from “fun” to “angry,” were dictated by spectators’ Tweets, and were reflected in the facial expression and color of the animation on the ceiling. “There are so many cool things that you can do using the API from a social media platform. I’m very happy that we were able to interact with Twitter this way. The possibilities are endless,” Renninger said.

“We hope that this will inspire future experimentation with the Kutztown University Planetarium.”

We love seeing interactive projects that really engage an audience (and we think planetariums are cool, too)! If you are working on anything that challenges convention, send us an email to hey@temboo.com and you could be our next featured project.

Today, the more interactive the entertainment, the better—there’s an incomparable stimulant when a user’s actions affect the plot unfolding in front of his or her eyes. This principle drove a group of students at Kutztown University to make their campus planetarium interactive. “It is definitely a more meaningful experience when you can actually have a […]

Temboo Any Way You Like

March 13 2014

Now you can get up and running with Temboo faster than ever with our new getting started pages. They are packed with tutorials that will get you calling Choreos however you like – in iOS, Java, Node.js, PHP, Processing, Python, Ruby, or with our Choreo editor Twyla. Android SDK and REST API tutorials are coming soon.

Check out our new language pages in our redesigned Library.

Now you can get up and running with Temboo faster than ever with our new getting started pages. They are packed with tutorials that will get you calling Choreos however you like – in iOS, Java, Node.js, PHP, Processing, Python, Ruby, or with our Choreo editor Twyla. Android SDK and REST API tutorials are coming […]
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