Posted by: Wandren | November 20, 2009

Using digital media? Be serious about visualizing the data

While the enthusiasm for using digital media to engage with individuals around the world shows little sign of abating, interestingly the enthusiasm for discussing hard data about those interactions seems to be lagging behind.

While not every Public Diplomat need nor can be expected to have a detailed knowledge of vast spreadsheets with numerous columns and thousands of rows of data, there should be a clear understanding of the trends. Numerous sites provide some of that data for example Twitter Analyzer , TweetStats , TwitterCounter and Trendsmap among many others. Whichever method is used, key to success is understanding the people who are following what they are saying, after all how meaningful an interaction can occur otherwise?

Building on earlier pieces analyzing and mapping followers on Twitter, it seemed only fair to have a look at Dipnote’s over 9,000 followers. So who follows Dipnote on Twitter & where are they?

This is a cloud of the most common words appearing in the screen-names of those following Dipnote. While it appears there are a lot of people called David following Dipnote, this doesn’t tell us much except confirm that we can identify all the followers individually.

More important than their chosen screen-names is the geographic location of followers. Looking at the users who identify their location can give an idea of the geographic spread of the followers. While there is no guarantee the individuals are anywhere near where they say they are, it might be assumed that a large portion of users volunteering the information are doing so to give an indication of their location.

Similar to, the most common locations are predominantly in the USA, and specifically Washington DC – I’ll leave it to others to draw conclusions from that.

There are numerous other aspects of the data which could be analyzed, one of which is the profile of these followers? What are the most common things they choose to say about themselves?

This shows the most common words in the profiles of the 9000 followers. Another aspect is that these followers in turn have an average of 2810 followers of their own (although this is likely skewed by a few very high values, e.g. one user has 42,000 followers)  While clouds of screen-names might be a little frivolous, being able to quickly identify common values from 9,500 rows of data can significantly increase the understanding of followers. It can highlight factors which might have serious implications on tactical and strategic decision making about the use of digital media.

As a final thought, what has Dipnote been tweeting about recently?

These images demonstrate there is no need to operate in the dark; the data is out there. The onus must be on those directing Public Diplomats to use digital media to also ensure data is available in a format which those on the frontline can easily understand.

All images in this post were produced using



  1. Data has become most powerful tool for the growth of each and every business.

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