We'll see | Matt Zimmerman

a potpourri of mirth and madness

Pop visualization

It’s no surprise that information visualization and related fields have been active research topics in the past decade. The widespread availability of large, valuable data sets has created a need for improved tools and techniques for making sense of it. This is highly technical work, requiring expertise in design, mathematics, software and other fields, and there is a vibrant community of professionals and amateurs who experiment and critique the latest methods. In the geeky blogs that I follow, I see more and more amateur interest in visualization.

Visualization is starting to take on political significance as well, as evidenced by the appointment of information design pioneer Edward Tufte to a US government advisory panel to help explain economic policy to the American public.

A technology is confirmed to be truly and vitally relevant, though, when it enters the mainstream consciousness in the form of humor. In the case of visualization, geeks have been trading funny charts and graphs for many years, but this phenomenon seems to have finally crossed the chasm into popular Internet culture with the advent of the Venn diagram meme. Now, anyone with an elementary education and a drawing program can create their own chuckle-inducing infographics and enjoy their 15 minutes of Twitter fame. Likewise for the “X as seen by Y” two-dimensional grids, revealing how various (stereotyped) groups perceive each other.

This is the future, becoming more evenly distributed by the minute.

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Written by Matt Zimmerman

April 14, 2010 at 16:43

Posted in Uncategorized

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2 Responses

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  1. Indexed is another fun one.

    Mackenzie

    April 14, 2010 at 20:35

  2. […] Matt Zimmerman: Pop visualization (mdzlog.alcor.net) […]


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