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NBCOlympics Twitter Tracker: Vancouver 2010

A live visualization of Olympics-related twitter traffic, used by NBC as part of their online coverage of the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. Sports, topics and athletes were represented in an image-rich interactive tree map that visually represented what people were talking about during the Games, and how that changed over time.

Visualization of twitter traffic during the NBC Olympics from Stamen on Vimeo.

Related blog posts:

National Public Radio had this to say about "The Wierd Poetry of the Olympic Twitter Tracker"

The best part is that every box has the most-mentioned terms on that topic inside it. Right this second as I type this — ask in 60 seconds and it will have changed — there is a box that says, in words of decreasing size, "Curling pants Norwegian Olympic Olympics team." We're not the only ones who are fascinated by those pants, to say the least.

Another box — much smaller — has room only for "Johnny tonight."

You wait a minute, and it changes again. "Shaun White Olympics gold night last mctwist double amazing."

It's accidental poetry of a sort, where unrelated words bump into each other in unintended ways — "double amazing" — and all of a sudden, it's just, "Why, yes. It was double amazing. Thank you, unwieldy hive mind!"

Now the curling box has changed again, and it says, among other things, "Olympic pants team." Now that is a sport. (I imagine this: "I'm Bob Costas, reporting on the progress of the U.S. Olympic pants team, where the always powerful Russians are the biggest threat to hopes for the nation's first gold in the pants event in more than 30 years.")