Visualizing Your Contact Network in Linked In
Few books have made an impact on me as The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, the seminal work by Edward Tufte.
This work was the how to embody & represent quantitative information (i.e., numbers) in a visual form, ‘content absorb-able’ with a glance
Further reading revealed the why; specifically who cares I offer this excerpt from a book authored by Tamara Munzer on Visualization for the why:
“Visualization allows people to offload cognition to the perceptual system, using carefully designed images as a form of external memory. The human visual system is a very high-bandwidth channel to the brain, with a significant amount of processing occurring in parallel and at the pre-conscious level. We can thus use external images as a substitute for keeping track of things inside our own heads”
There has been a renaissance in the past several years on various methods and approaches that build on Tufte’s work; some personal favorites are Many Eyes (from IBM), GE Data Visualization, NodeXL, and visualizing.org. Tufte also has a ‘bulletin board’ that ironically, is non-graphical.
A great practical example is a simple tool offered by Linked In to ‘visualize’ your own network InMaps – I visualized my LinkedIn network. It was an ‘aha’ moment for me that allowed visualization of my contacts ‘footprint’.