Mapping Online Scotland

Following the Scottish tradition of visual thinking, Bella C and collaborators will be charting online activity over the summer of 2011. Inspired by the above map we expect to have to traverse the Northern Wasteland of Unread Blogs, sail across the Sea of Memes and voyage the Boring Desert of Facebook Updates.

Randall Monroe of xkcd has turned social networks and communities into countries and continents with geographical landmass equivalent to their online activity.  Go HERE to get a LARGER version of it. This map (above) uses size to represent total social activity in a community – that is, how much talking, playing, sharing, or other socialising is going on. Bella’s doing a long-term project to map the same activity in Scotland, a kind of physical Thoughtland. We figure charting the slow demise of print media isn’t half as much fun as mapping the rise of the new media forms.

Currently enlisting from the Geekerati to help number-crunch and from digital arts community to make it beautiful.

Monroe explains how he created his mash-up:

“Estimates are based on the best numbers I could find, but involved a great deal of guesswork, statistical inference, random sampling, nonrandom sampling, a 20,000-cell spreadsheet, emailing, cajoling, tea-leaf reading, goat sacrifices, and gut instinct. (i.e. making things up.) Sources of data include Google and Bing, Wikipedia, Alexa, Big-Boards.com, StumbleUpon, WordPress, Akismet, every website statistics page I could find, press releases, news articles, and individual site employees.”

If you’d like to get involved or be part of this project get in touch.

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  1. Marvellous idea. I’d love to ramble in the glens of Google, climb the mountains of Meme and paddle in the cool water of the Viral Valley of Timewasting.
    Let me know what I can do.

  2. bellacaledonia says:

    Thanks Ellen. Yes how many days can be spent in the Glens of Google.

    We’re in stage one: enjoying the idea. We need to dream up the categories: Machairs of MySpace, Straths of Social Media and Firths of Foursquare? Your suggestions about what you’d like to know about what people are doing online are welcome.

    Stage two is to crunch some numbers, and stage three is to make the thing.

  3. Suggest you add Openbook for those unguarded moments http://youropenbook.org

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