Posts tagged with ‘influence’

Graphing the Influence of Thinkers and Ideas Throughout History

Brendan Griffen has graphed a network of all people on Wikipedia with who they’ve influenced and who they’re influenced by.

Via Griff’s Graphs:

For those new to this type of thing: the node size represents the number of connections. In short, I used a database version of Wikipedia to extract all people with known influences and made this map. The bigger the node, the bigger influence that person had on the rest of the network. Nietzsche, Kant, Hegel, Hemingway, Shakespeare, Plato, Aristotle, Kafka, and Lovecraft all, as one would expect, appear as the largest nodes. Around these nodes, cluster other personalities who are affiliated (depends on distance). Highlighting communities by colour reveals sub-networks within the total structure. You’ll notice common themes amongst similarly coloured authors.

Griffen’s influence is Simon Raper who recently graphed the history of philosophy.

The tools used are similar too:

First I queried Snorql and retrieved every person who had a registered ‘influence’ or registered ‘influenced by’ value (restricted to people only so if they were influenced by ‘anime’, they were excluded).

I then decoded these using a neat little URL decoder and imported them into Microsoft Excel for further processing (removing things like ‘(Musician)’ and other annoying syntax).

I then exported these as a csv and imported into Gephi and proceeded as usual. Fruchterman-Reingold algorithm followed by Force Atlas 2. I then identified communities using ‘Modularity’ and edited the rest in Preview. Due to the size, I’ve had to zoom up and take snapshots on regions of interest.

The csv file containing all of the data can be obtained here so you can make your own maps.

And yes, as Griffen notes, the information and visualization is biased towards Western ideas and cultures since Wikipedia skews heavily toward English speakers.

Meantime, we’re absolutely gobsmacked.

Read Griffen’s post on the project. Check out zoomable version. Get yourself a pretty print.

Images: Partial screenshots of Graphing Every* Idea in History, by Brendan Griffen. Select to embiggen.

H/T: Flowing Data.

Networked Activism

In early June Yochai Benkler spoke at the Personal Democracy Forum about the political power of networked activism.

Drawing on the campaign against the proposed SOPA and PIPA copyright and intellectual property laws, he describes the influential nodes (eg., TechDirt and the Electronic Frontier Foundation) that drove awareness and action on the issues. 

Important to the discussion is how radicalized media environments and information systems have changed the way politics, policies and democracy works.

A “loose” transcription comes from OpenCongress:

The networked public sphere is composed of layers. There are the traditional media organizations and they continue to play a role, but interestingly, in this dimension they are not in a privileged position. They are complemented by blogs that allow particularly engaged & knowledgeable individuals… to play substantial roles. We see the tech media, not at all political, playing a critical role. We see traditional NGOs also playing a large role as info brokers & sources of education, and amazingly enough, over 3 dozen special purpose action sites that are set up specifically to find a way to block the legislation… one or two of them stick, and they move forward, and they stop this piece of legislation.

Together creating a tapestry that is in fact the nature of the networked public sphere. No, not everyone is a pamphleteer, but we’re also not falling off a cliff. What you see is a complex relationship between NGOS & commercial organizations, between V.C.’s & activists, b/w traditional media & online media, between political media left & right and tech media, all weaving together a model of actually looking, learning, mobilizing for action, and blocking [SOPA]. This, ideally, is the shape of the networked public sphere.

Recommended Bonus: If you haven’t read it and are interested in how peer production and the information economy works, how the Internet can (and should) reimagine property and the commons, and how all this affects personal freedoms, read Benklar’s The Wealth of Networks (PDF). It’s simply one of the, if not the, most important books on these topics. There’s also an an ever evolving Wiki that you can dive into too.

Run Time: ~16:00.

In February, the Globe and Mail published a map to show Moammar Gadhafi’s influence in Africa.

In Mali, for example, Gadhafi’s money and diplomacy have helped resolve conflicts between rebels and the government.

And in Sudan, the 20,000 troop peacekeeping mission includes African Union troops that are heavily funded by Gadhafi’s Libya.

We modified the map for display here so click through to learn more.

H/T: Torie (The Political Notebook) via G+.

In February, the Globe and Mail published a map to show Moammar Gadhafi’s influence in Africa.

In Mali, for example, Gadhafi’s money and diplomacy have helped resolve conflicts between rebels and the government.

And in Sudan, the 20,000 troop peacekeeping mission includes African Union troops that are heavily funded by Gadhafi’s Libya.

We modified the map for display here so click through to learn more.

H/T: Torie (The Political Notebook) via G+.

FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver analyzed a month’s worth of citations to the Web’s top English language news sites. The top 30 above is a good indicator of reach and influence:

The way I’ve determined to study this is pretty simple. I’ve tracked the number of times that the publication’s name has appeared in Google News and Google Blog Search over the past month, followed by the word “reported.” For instance, to track the number of citations for The Chicago Tribune, I’d look for instances of the phrase “Chicago Tribune reported.” (In some cases, I’ve permitted multiple search terms for the same news outlet — for example, both “BBC reported” and “BBC News reported.”)
Obviously, there are other ways that a news outlet’s reporting might be referenced: “according to The Guardian” as opposed to “The Guardian reported.” So this won’t capture every time that an outlet’s reporting is cited; the idea, instead, is that it should be a representative sample.

Silver chose the sites analyzed by taking the top 100 blogs from Technorati, the top 100 circulation newspapers in the United States, the top 100 newspapers in global circulation and Memeorandum’s top 100 news sources.
His full list can be viewed here.

FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver analyzed a month’s worth of citations to the Web’s top English language news sites. The top 30 above is a good indicator of reach and influence:

The way I’ve determined to study this is pretty simple. I’ve tracked the number of times that the publication’s name has appeared in Google News and Google Blog Search over the past month, followed by the word “reported.” For instance, to track the number of citations for The Chicago Tribune, I’d look for instances of the phrase “Chicago Tribune reported.” (In some cases, I’ve permitted multiple search terms for the same news outlet — for example, both “BBC reported” and “BBC News reported.”)

Obviously, there are other ways that a news outlet’s reporting might be referenced: “according to The Guardian” as opposed to “The Guardian reported.” So this won’t capture every time that an outlet’s reporting is cited; the idea, instead, is that it should be a representative sample.

Silver chose the sites analyzed by taking the top 100 blogs from Technorati, the top 100 circulation newspapers in the United States, the top 100 newspapers in global circulation and Memeorandum’s top 100 news sources.

His full list can be viewed here.

Journalism is, of course, a great reduction to begin with. Any journalist not too full of himself to admit it realises, sooner or later, that the trade demands a facility for simplification that squeezes the most complex events, trends and characters into a limited form with limited, stereotypical narratives…

…Despite these limitations, journalism has acquired a great power in our lives. But it is also embattled by technological change, the loss of long-profitable business models and the fracturing of audiences.

— John Lloyd, Financial Times (via Slate), The New Power of the Press: WikiLeaks and Glenn Beck show that journalism is becoming more influential—but also more reductive.