Thursday, June 25, 2015

Visualizing Twitter

Early in this first week's make cycle, Christina Winsor DiMicelli posted her "un"troduction on the Facebook group. She said, "..I wanted an easy interpretation." The picture, though, was much more complex than her preface suggested. Using the website Portwiture, she had used her Twitter feed to create a grid of images that reflected the content of her social media.  The mosaic was dazzling!

I had to try it out for myself.  This was the result:

I was a bit taken aback by the images of people I didn't know or recognize.  I do appreciate the purple in the upper right, since it's my favorite color.  I think the images are a pretty fair representation of my Twitter feed in the couple of days before I constructed it, but not a real representation of me.

The experience did make me wonder, though, what did other people's Twitter feeds look like?  I tried out @StephenKing and got this result:

Appropriately creepy, I think.

This was the result for one of the Shakespeare feeds (@dailyShakes):

A little brighter than I might have predicted.

And from my favorite cartoonist, Lynda BarryBarry (@nearsiteonkey):

I love the energy and color in her grid.

Once I played around with the site a bit, I started wondering, "What could I do with this in the classroom?"  I can imagine asking students to use it for an author or public figure. Create the grid and then write (or speak) about how well the result represents the subject.

Today, I repeated the exercise using my own feed. Here are my two results, side by side (thanks, PicMonkey!):

What if a student used the site a few days apart for their own feed, made a collage, and then talked about the differences and similarities between the two images?  Or maybe pick two entirely different public figures and compare/contrast the images resulting from their Twitter feed?

I don't think I'm interested in this just because it's quirky and interesting. I think that there is genuine scope for imagination here, a way in to practicing visual literacy.  To wrap up, just for practice, look at this image from the @clmooc feed. How successful do you think it is in representing what you think the mooc is all about?

No comments:

Post a Comment