Monday, December 10, 2007

Mapping the influence

In one of my previous postings, I pondered on how you would create an interface to represent information/control (influence) beyond the 'walled garden' yet within the sphere of your influence. So I've done some research on this in an attempt to understand it more.

There have been various recent projects that have attempted to show the 'Social Graph' - Felix Heinen's (a student who's Final Year project in Information Design) visualisations of a Social Network 'not unlike MySpace.com' begin to give an insight into how complex the 'Corporate Graph' could be:
http://www.felixheinen.de/020.html


Now, Graph Theory has been around for years and I'm not about to study Computational Geometry when I'm a web strategist.... however there is good work that has been done already that tries to model influence across the Internet. In fact the recent work by some students at Maryland Baltimore University has modelled influence within the Blogsphere
http://ebiquity.umbc.edu/_file_directory_/papers/262.pdf


However, what is perhaps needed is a more 'human' way to address the interface needs, by:
1. Providing the researcher with the tools to search and filter results
2. Providing them with a simpler interface that they are used to or at least recognise
3. Providing some 'visualisation on demand' service where the entire model only exisits as data and 'chunks' are rendered as required.

In fact, something like this does the job nicely:
http://www.touchgraph.com/TGGoogleBrowser.html
(Correct Java version needed)

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