Marian Dörk
Visual Backchannel

Visual Backchannel is a novel way of following and exploring online conversations about large-scale events using interactive visualizations. Microblogging communities, such as Twitter, are increasingly used as digital backchannels for timely exchange of brief comments and impressions during political speeches, sport competitions, natural disasters, and other large events. Currently, shared updates are typically displayed in the form of a simple list, making it difficult to get an overview of the fast-paced discussion as it happens in the moment and how it evolves over time. In contrast, our Visual Backchannel design provides an evolving, interactive, and multi-faceted visual overview of large-scale ongoing conversations on Twitter.


Visual Backchannel for Park(ing) Day 2009 Visual Backchannel during Earthquake in Chile 2010 Visual Backchannel of tweets from VisWeek 2009 Topic Streams are composed of stream-like shapes defined by two cubic Bézier curves. People Spiral with varying number of participants Image Cloud with 16 (left) and 100 (right) images Visual Backchannel during VisWeek 2010 (24-29 October, in Salt Lake City) First day of Vis and InfoVis during VisWeek 2010 with keynote by Mary Hegarty

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Marian Dörk, Daniel Gruen, Carey Williamson, and Sheelagh Carpendale. A Visual Backchannel for Large-Scale Events. TVCG: IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics (Proceedings InfoVis 2010), 16(6), pages 1129-38, Nov/Dec 2010.

This project was carried out at IBM Research and University of Calgary.