Written by Lab volunteers, Tiemo Theiss, Nynne Nikoline Holm and Christoffer Dangkel Jacobsen 

On Friday the 9th of October ETHOSLab, were part of the Culture Night arrangement at ITU. ETHOS decided together with associate professor Luca Rossi to create visualizations of social media hashtags related to the Culture Night. Our focal point was to use the official Instagram hashtag “kulturnatten2015” and displays this in three different ways.

The first visualization pictured the main hashtag “kulturnatten2015” in relation to co-hashtags, which meant that the closer the co-hashtag were to the centre (the main hashtag) the more connections the two has got. The visualization kept updating throughout the night, which gave us an opportunity to understand how the relations between the hashtags evolved.

The second visualization displayed the location, with red dots, to where in the city the hashtag had been posted. This provided the team with an opportunity to get an overview of the most ‘popular’ locations in Copenhagen, and perhaps tell were the most attractive events took place. And it wasn’t’ a big surprise that central Copenhagen appeared to have the most posts.

The final visualization plotted the pictures in a co-ordinate system based on different parameters. We tried various combinations like brightness over likes and brightness over hue. Even though the graph looked great and we were able to see the grouping of different colours, we had a hard time to get a useful analysis from the data. This rises the questions on how a visualization done this way could benefit to understanding the use of the chosen hashtag – would other parameters like the use of filters or the colour tone cast a different light the pictures? Or could a greater collection of pictures have resulted in some other knowledge?

A fair amount of people came by ETHOS’ expo. some showed a real interest in the ETHOSLab in general and the work of Jakob Bæk Kristensen, who is working inter alia on mapping of social interaction on Facebook. Nonetheless, people were most interested in the visualization of the Kulturnatten hashtag, but some kind of introduction were necessary to make the visitors able to understand the purpose fully. This kind of interaction with the visitors triggered a lot of interesting discussions. It made them able to see data in different perspectives, reflect upon it and even some of them were able to relate the visualizations to their own field of work and/or interest. Even thought we would have appreciated if more visitors came by, we felt it had been a great success, since the people we engaged in conversations showed a great reaction and interest.