More Social Software Visualization

YvonneUnrealArt is artwork based on gameplay in Unreal Tournament. 

All artworks have been created using data from the game "Unreal Tournament".

Each image represents about 30 mins of gameplay in which the computers AI plays against itself, there are 20-25 bots playing each game.

The Bots play custom maps I create. Each map has been pathed so that the bots have a rough idea of where to go in order to create the image I want.

While this is architecturally / location based, graphically it is compelling if manipulated (e.g. "Each map has been pathed so that the bots have a rough idea of where to go in order to create the image I want").  It is art after all.  The related blog is here.

On social software visualization, if activities, or attention, are tracked as locations (again, perhaps manipulated to get the desired result) this method could be used to visualize social software activity.  But not interaction like vizster.

GM to use OnStar for Social Software Integration – still pending

GmonstaremailI previously posted on General Motors and how I think they should use some of the OnStar data in a social software capacity.  Yes we can GET data, the question is can the group of humans share that data in a meaningful way.  The good news is per the advertisement to the left GM is now offering to email a summary of your data.  This is smart and good for the brand.

Specifically what I would like to see added from a social software data perspective is:

  1. Let people indicate if they want to share their mileage data
  2. For the people who specifically choose to share their data, open it up to the world so it looks something like this tag view from Technorati, except ranked by mileage.   (note the highest rank is at the top – then ask why)
  3. Consider opening the OnStar up as a licensed service to other manufacturers.  Go honestly toe-to-toe on improving gas mileageProgressive does this with insurance telling you even if they are NOT the lowest cost, which makes me think all sorts of warm-fuzzies about the Progressive brand.

what is said on the enemy’s side of the front is always propaganda

WecandoitPropaganda in war time is normal, buying space is common in some societies where journalistic integrity is questionable.  So this is no surprise:

"Military Admits Planting News in Iraq"

WASHINGTON, Dec. 2 – The military acknowledged Friday in a briefing for a ranking Senate Republican that news articles written by American troops had been placed as paid advertisements in the Iraqi news media and not always properly identified.

The very act of war is "I am so mad I am going to shoot you because you won’t do what I want."  So the suggestion of buying editorial space in a society where this is common practice strikes me as normal.  Every time you go to the gym you see "health magazines" that are mostly about plastic surgery.  Do you really think all of those articles were written without any thought on who purchased 50k worth of advertisement that year?  If not, can you expect greater editorial integrity from a war zone?  I think not.

So is it wrong for a public relations professional to knowingly pay to place an article?  Yes, definitely.  But don’t PR folks regularly write articles and mail them to newspapers in the hopes that a lazy journalist will use them?  Yes, absolutely. Bernays even called them "fillers" and along with the Internet he claimed to have invented them.

This post on wartime propaganda is thought provoking and I recommend it.  In particular, the Lippman quote puts it in context.

"We must remember that in time of war what is said on the enemy’s side of the front is always propaganda, and what is said on our side of the front is truth and righteousness, the cause of humanity and a crusade for peace." – Walter Lippman

For more information on wartime propaganda, I highly recommend PR! A Social History of Spin by Stuart Ewen.  Or we can leave it to the future of public relations integrity.

TagCloud and PR Web should not associate with blog SPAM tools

Tagcloud is running advertisements for blogzilla (  This is a very bad public relations idea.  Perhaps worse is that their is a PR Web logo on the page suggesting this is a tool recommended for the PR professional!  Specifically Blogzilla purports to let you:

With Blog-zilla you can…

  1. Post and manage tailored content across 5 to 100 blogs.
  2. Add unique articles personalized to every blog you are running.
  3. Take any original content or article and have Blog-zilla crunch it, improve it, and target it; based on your rules.
  4. Grab keyword-related RSS feeds and augment your blog content.
  5. Blend content, articles and RSS into perfectly matched topical blog entries.

Emphasis added by me.  Lets take this at face value.  I, one human being, can theoretically now maintain a conversation across hundreds of "my own" blogs.  Those blogs are generated by this script that rephrases my supposedly "original content" which is "augmented" by other RSS feeds. 

If this doesn’t meet the technical definition of blog spam, it sure as hell meets the "does not smell right" definition of blog spam which is evil.

The folks at BlogZilla have a denial on their advertisement as well "Not for content theives, spammers & cheats."  Oh, I feel much better.  If you aren’t ethical please don’t buy this product.  Um..ya.

When tagcloud came out I thought it was a pretty cool and easy way to add tag clouds to our clients’ sites using their RSS feeds.  Convenient, and their heart seemed in the right place.  Since our brand, both Schipul and Tendenci, require a strong focus on the brutal facts examined with honesty and integrity, I am particular about which outside tools are linked to from within the software.

What this means in English is simple.  Tagcloud made a big mistake. BugZilla is a PR disaster waiting to happen and PR Web needs to tell them to get the logo the hell off the page.  Happy Saturday.