I’m a sucker for charts’n'graphs.
The only thing better than data is data about data. Data about data is information that, in quantity, becomes knowledge, which is just a short hop away from wisdom. And when wisdom shows up, you know you’re this close to figuring it all out.
As a nerd who erroneously believes that the world is a knowable system, charts’n'graphs further the illusion that I’m one epiphany away from this complete knowledge.
Twitter’s deliberately spartan feature set has no charts’n'graphs. In fact, most of the information you can learn about your personal Twittersphere is summed up on the front page: following, followers, favorites, direct messages, and updates. That’s it.
Twitter has become a daily social touch point for me. In fact, I’ve started to see the @reply_to_someone convention outside of Twitter particularly in email:
“Did anyone take notes at the design meeting? I saw @markjz and @wenderz scribbling something.”
Given the amount of social energy I’m pouring into Twitter, I’ve been wondering how I’ve been using it. Fortunately, @dacort has written a fine Perl script to suck down all your twits, chew on them a bit, and spit them out into delicious charts’n'graphs in Numbers.
Staring at this year in review for Twitter has given me the following information:
- The @replies aren’t really a surprise, as these are folks I work with or who are avid Twitter buddies. I suspect the interesting data here is in the long tail. How many folks have at least one @reply?
- I’ve been stewing over the lunchtime Twitterspike for a couple of days. In an early version of the stats, there was a spike around 2pm and that spike is still there around Noon in the latest stats. Before seeing either of these graphs, my guess would’ve been that I was chattier in the morning. Looks like I’m apt to fire off a Twitter right after lunch to set the tone for the afternoon.
- The Twitters per month really tell the story of my year: “Getting to know Twitter during the first half of the year, and then August arrives and I’m totally fucking buried with work, which is followed by a couple of months of not wanting to see a computer ever again. December shows up and I’ve got time off, so WHAM… Twitters galore.”
Sadly, the most interesting information isn’t included in these charts’n'graphs and that’s influence. How many people am I following and how many do they follow? How many folks have been following me? Who do I know that they know? It’s the intersections of my Twitter network that I really care about because that is how I can figure out how efficiently collecting and distributing the really juicy information.
Happy New Year.