I've been reflecting on the Nancy White's SpiderGram activity that helps you visualize the orientation of your community as a prelude to selecting the right online collaboration tool. As technology steward for an online community of practice or facilitator of a group that wants to work together online, it is valuable to do this exercise to help you get a better understanding. But, it's also valuable to do as a group exercise to spark discussion and reflection.
By chance this morning, I discovered the blog of my one twitter followers, Sumitroy001 who works with ngos and social media in India. I landed on the syllabus for a course in data visualization at Harvard University. The course description:
The goal of this course is to expose students to visualization methods and techniques that increase the understanding of complex data. The course will cover how the human visual system processes and perceives images, good design practices for visualization, tools for visualization of data from a variety of fields, and programming of interactive visualization systems. The course is targeted both towards students interested in using visualization in their own work, and students interested in building better visualization tools and systems.
As the web becomes more social, data visualization and social data visualization skills will become more necessary to help us make meaning out of complexity. One of the lectures in this course was on the topic of Social Visualization and delivered by Martin Wattenberg from IBM. ( Many Eyes is one of his projects at IBM).
Anyway, it is making me wonder how, if at all, you are using social data visualizations to analyze your nonprofit's social network or social media activity?