Due to no particular plan, I’ve come across a number of different personal visualization tools recently.
Most of these tools are internet-related; in particular, social media related. However, some visualize data that they obtain from me directly and indirectly.
An example of a visualization where I provide the data directly is the personal survivorship assessment that is produced by the AYA mobile app. (Learn more about AYA, which my company Appconomy developed, at the producer’s website.)
In addition to the likelihood of cancer survivorship, there are many other categories one could imagine, beyond an array of just the other possible health-related visualizations. For example: continuing education, personal finance, household energy use, on and on.
Another visualization example, produced from data that I provide, is the Wordle.
The particular Wordle shown was produced by copying-and-pasting in all of the content from my two-page professional resume’. The result is a word cloud, displaying the most commonly used words larger, and the less-used words, smaller.
Wordle is cool for a couple of reasons. First, the creator is always tinkering with it, providing new kinds of layout options, font types, etc. Second, it can be applied in so many ways. A favorite of mine is to use it in a messaging audit with a team.
Step 1 of the audit is asking the team to write down and give me the messages that are most important to them. Step 2 is to ask them for the current, definitive source for their key messages, for example, their website or some other promotional tool, like their main sales brochure.
Step 3 is to copy-and-paste the content from steps 1 and 2 into two different Wordles and compare them visually. It is amazing what frequently pops out, highlighting the stark differences between desired and actual messaging. From there, work with the team begins, forming a strategy and creating a plan to achieve the desired messaging.
For the remainder of this post, I’ll stick with a few of the social media/internet-related visualizations I’ve stumbled across.
But, I’d love to hear your favorites. Especially, if you find them truly useful or just satisfying to your curiosity, without any specific actionable purpose.
The first one is from Vizify. I mention it because I’ve found it to be the most useful, because it provides a kind of visual biography.
In addition to the visualization itself, the Vizify makers provide a handy excerpt of code that you can include as a signature block graphic in your email that piques the interest of recipients.
The next one is from LinkedIn, called Inmaps. Since this one traces the connections between your various links, it takes a bit of time to process.
But once complete, it’s worth it. Not only is it an intriguing spiderweb of your connections, key implicit clusters, and their relations.
But, it is also a dense, rich, delicate arrangement of the human, professional network that you have created, in association with all of those first-connection contacts who have linked with you over the days, months, and years.
Next one is from MIT, called Immersion, based on Gmail. It’s pretty fascinating, for a couple of reasons. First, it draws connections between your various Gmail correspondence partners, which in itself is illuminating.
Second and I suspect more surprising to most, as it was for me, Immersion ranks the people with whom you collaborate the most. When I saw my rank ordered list of top collaborators, it was definitely a wake-up call.
Most noticeably, it served as a reminder of the people who have been important to me over time, even if they aren’t necessarily people with whom I’m corresponding heavily now.
Finally, I’ll highlight a tool called Personas, from the MIT Media lab. It’s about five years old and, in fact, wasn’t operating when I tried to run it recently. But, I mention it because of my admiration for the elegant output it sought to produce, given the complexity of the algorithm at its core.
To my mind, if you have ever taken a Myers-Briggs type assessment or a DISC profile, then you can think of Personas achieving a similar assessment, but based principally on the content discoverable about you on the worldwide web. Pretty neat idea.
Again, if you have a personal visualization that you’d like to share, I’d love to hear about it!