Network Effect overwhelms with data

Oct 8, 2015

Network Effect by Jonathan Harris and Greg Hochmuth is a gathering of the emotions, non-emotion, and everyday-ness of life online. It hits you all at once and overwhelms your senses.

We gathered a vast amount of data, which is presented in a classically designed data visualization environment — all real, all impeccably annotated, all scientifically accurate, all “interesting,” and yet all basically absurd. In this way, the project calls into question the current cult of Big Data, which has become a kind of religion for atheists.

Harris and Hocmuth gathered tweets that mentioned 100 behaviors, such as hug, cry, blow, and meditate, and paired them with YouTube videos that correspond. They then employed workers on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk to read the tweets aloud and gather data on when behaviors occurred. Tweets are continually collected to collect data on why people perform such behaviors, and Google Ngram provides historical usage context.

It is a lot of things going on at once.

I could go on, but it’s better if you experience it for yourself. You’re given about seven minutes per day to view, depending on the life expectancy of where you live. The weird thing is that even though it’s an overwhelming view into online life, you’re left wanting more, which is exactly what the creators were going for.


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