The New York Times Visualizes Tweet Data


Until finding these articles, I did not realize that the New York Times funds an R&D department that addresses issues such as social media and that it creates technological solutions for them. The New York Times R&D Lab has created a data visualization tool using open source software and Twitter to more efficiently find patterns and relational data between users to help focus its advertising.

Although it was surprising to me that the Journalism industry funds a technology R&D Lab that it uses to produce software, this actually makes a lot of sense in terms of downsizing and the emerging trends of managerial structure in advertising, such as hyperfragmentation. (MW, Deuze  124-130).

Media Work talks extensively about how technology is being used interdependently partly because of the downsizing trend in the PR industry, “forcing practitioners to be more productive and do more with less time and staff.” (MW, Deuze, 125)

In addition to this technology being one that helps downsize costs in general, it seems that this technology assists in the altering of management strategies “that privilege integration and central control of workplace practices” (MW, Deuze, 125) For example, instead of hiring many people to collect tweet data from Twitter, only a handful of centrally managed workers are required to collect relevant Twitter data.

In other words, this visualization tool is a reflection of initiatives in cutting costs both by reducing the need for employees and also by centralizing managerial control.

Deuze mentions that media has become highly individualized due to hyperfragmentation (MW, Deuze 126) and that the impact of this effect has caused consumers to look for products that are much more particular to them and to not focus on products that are marketed to the masses. Twitter is a prime example of this hyperfragmented economy based upon personal information. As long as people continue to have public conversations online, it is no surprise that media companies such as the New York Times will continually fund efforts in visualizing online data.

– Dan Schiffman



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