The role that the Internet has played in opening access to information at a global scale is obviously huge, but it also poses challenges, particularly in terms of filtering “the good, the bad and the ugly’ of the endless stream of content pouring into our digital timelines. It’s a time consuming task, if you’re not sure where to start.
However, it’s all basically a question of knowing where the reliable sources are, and loose as little time as possible getting to the information you’re interested in – if possible, with a visual display that makes the whole process of understanding what’s going on easy – and fun.
I picked up some tools that I use – some on a regular basis and others just occasionally, I admit – both for my work as for my personal interest. I will skip social media management tools, like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck, as well as the ‘old’ RSS feed. I do use them (well, not Tweetdeck, actually), but in this context I’ll give preference to more visually appealing services.
These websites offer a way of exploring the front pages of newspapers all over the world. A must for journalist, and particularly useful if you move around a lot (like me) and want to keep track of what’s happening in those places you once called home.
Today’s Front Pages | Newseum
We’ve seen Twitter positioning itself more as a news broadcasting channel, in opposition to a social networking site. Also, we’ve all played with numerous experiments developed on top of Twitter’s data and made possible by the API access provided by the company in the early stages of its growth. It would be impossible to number them all, and many are used essentially to provide some form of analytics of our own activity – a good place to start would be Neoformix’s gallery, if you want to play with those types of apps.
So, I’ll focus on a few of those third-party services that help you visualize the news way beyond the Trending Topics, and promise to return to this particular topic of visualization with Twitter data in the future.
COOL AND FUN
Now, this is another endless category of visualization projects. Fun experiments like Casual Data‘s News Knitter project, transforming news in wearables, or the (sadly) long gone Digg Labs visualizations created by Stamen Design are classic examples of what you can do with a stream of informative data. The links below are just some of my bookmarked sites in this “Fun News” category.
… AND MY FAVORITE
From all the tools out there, my personal favorite is NewsMap, an application created by Marcos Weskamp back in 2004 that visually reflects the constantly changing landscape of the Google News news aggregator.
The tree map design makes it easy to find out what the top news are, and the filtering options are simple but highly effective. The fact that it supports Brazilian news helps me a lot, of course, since the majority of my clients leave here. So, this is indeed a personal choice not based on the technical aspect of the tool itself, or the aesthetics – although I put it high up there in this two ‘details’ as well.
Now, what other resource would you add to this list?