Friday, April 27, 2012

Viz: trayvon's spread across the us in social media

bitly blog

On February 26th, Trayvon Martin was shot by George Zimmerman in Sanford, FL. Martin, 17, was walking home after purchasing a snack from a local convenience store. 

Recently, Bitly collaborated with Bloomberg Businessweek on a visualization showing how the media’s coverage of the shooting went from local to national. We explored how various responses to the event (the release of the 911 tapes, President Obama’s public comments) caused spikes in traffic to online articles related to Trayvon.


In mid-April Bill Cosby commented that debate of the shooting should not focus on the role race played, but on the role of guns. Using Bitly data we explored how race was correlated with attention paid to the Martin event. US Census data provided the percentage of African-Americans for each state. We plotted these percentages against the attention each state gave to the event from February 26 through April 21. 

We utilized linear regression to model the data. The resulting line had an R-Square value of 0.86. The greatest outlier was the state of Florida (which is reasonable given the local nature of the story). As you can see from the graph, there is a direct correlation between the racial makeup of a state and the amount of attention that state has paid to the story. While Mr. Cosby may want the story to be focused on guns, the data shows that race has been the focus.

We studied this particular story because of the media impact and because we are investigating how stories and ideas spread through social media. We would love to hear your thoughts and questions!

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Viz: Is it Legal to Wear Headphones When You're Driving?


Ever Wonder If It's Actually Legal to Wear Headphones When You're Driving? You know you're supposed to go hands-free with your phone in the car, but did you know in some states it's illegal to wear headphones when you're driving? Is your state one of those? We teamed up with the American Automobile Association (AAA) to get to the bottom of the issue. Find out where you can rock out while you drive and where you should make sure your earbuds are out before you head down the highway.

It's not exclusively a hands-free phone issue, of course. You may also have wondered if you can wear headphones and listen to music while driving—maybe because your radio was broken, or you wanted to listen to something on your phone but had no way to hook it up to your speakers, or maybe because you saw someone else driving with earbuds in and wondered "Hey, is that legal?!"

In some states, wearing headphones is perfectly legal; in others, it's 100% illegal; and in many states, the law is a little less clear cut—for example, in some states it's only legal to wear headphones in one ear, but not two.

Click your state on the interactive map below to see what the law says where you live.

Is It Legal to Wear Headphones While Driving?

      Mostly legal          Mostly illegal          It's complicated

Ever Wonder If It's Actually Legal to Wear Headphones When You're Driving?

Click on any state for details

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Many thanks to the AAA for their help with this post. They point out—and we agree—that regardless of the legality of wearing headphones in your state, listening to music on headphones while driving is a distraction, and can impair your ability to hear the sirens from emergency vehicles nearby and other important traffic sounds that would be audible if you were only listening to the radio. They point out that a headphone cable across your lap could become tangled and present a steering hazard. Whatever you choose to do, make sure you take the law, your safety, and the safety of others on the road into account first.

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Viz: The French election in tweets: follow a real-time visualization of the most popular candidates

The Verge - All Posts
French election tweets

France is taking to the polls today in the first round of its 2012 presidential election. Incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy is facing a strong challenge from socialist candidate Fran├žois Hollande, who is presently considered to be the favorite to succeed him as the leader of the nation. That common expectation is backed up by today's Twitter discussions of the election, where Hollande holds a slim lead over Sarkozy in terms of raw tweet count. Of course, a tweet need not be in support of a candidate to include the hashtag for his campaign, but it's fascinating to see how the popularity of each candidate is reflected in our social media conversations.

A dedicated website has been set up to provide real-time tracking of the volume of...