This is the latest instance of Datacopter for Channel 4 drama, The Promise. Here it is called a ‘Twitter Tracker‘ and it represents all of the conversation relating to the drama over the four weekly episodes.
When Channel 4 first saw The Promise, they recognised that the drama may cause debate around the Israel / Palestine crisis, and wanted to find a way to represent this conversation in a fair way.
Written and directed by Peter Kosminsky, The Promise is a compelling drama set in both modern day Israel and 1940’s Palestine, telling a tale of two ages via two main characters, Erin and her Grandfather. It’s definitely a gripping drama, which has had amazing tweets from people saying as much, so if you haven’t seen it I highly recommend catching up.
The Twitter Tracker has been designed to specifically represent the breadth of the conversation around the drama, the issues and debate it raises and the characters, to ensure that no large topic drowns out all the others, purely based on numbers or ‘loudness’. In a sense, it represents not just the top trending topics, but the long tail of conversation.
The visualisation itself consists of a timeline, covering the 4 episodes, which allows you to highlight a specific episode and see the aggregate conversation around it. Below that are a series of ‘planets’ with corresponding ‘moons’ (a conversation constellation, if you will). Each planet represents a theme and has a series of moons around it to show related terms to that theme. As you click on planets and moons you alter the tweets that are shown to you on the right hand side, which drill down as you drill down by clicking on the timeline, planets or moons.
There is some super clever science / maths behind the constellation model, which I’m sure my colleague Steve (who built this) will blog about soon, and I will not attempt to try and explain here!
Here are some initial sketches we sent to the multiplatform commissioner at C4, which I hastily sketched up after an ideas session with Jenni and Steve. This kicked the project off, but from this we developed the idea quite a lot onto the constellations. It’s always nice to revisit the first seed of an idea!
And here is a screenshot of the first prototype of the planets and moons Steve made:
My colleague Jenni who has been working on this project from a UX / design perspective has started making a story of the project on Storify, a nice little service that allows you to curate stories by pulling in media from all different sources, such as tweets, flickr photos and blog posts. She asked that I caveat that this ‘story’ isn’t finished – she still wants to add in some narrative around the media – so it will develop over time!