@NYTimes Project Cascade Visualizes Complex Twittersphere, Decodes Diffusion And Value

The sexiest thing I’ve seen today came to me by way of The New York Times. Project Cascade is the lastest technology developed by The New York Times R&D Group in order to better understand how a story goes viral on Twitter in order to change and improve the ways in which the newspaper delivers value to its readers.Project Cascade is exciting to me for a number of reasons:

  1. While other Twitter visualizations focus on connections and following/follower relationships, Project Cascade delves into the content of tweets and how it is disseminated throughout the Twittersphere.
  2. While other visualizations focus on retweets, hashtags, replies, mentions, and other specific parts of Twitter conversations,Project Cascade takes a more holistic view of the rather complex ecosystem that is Twitter.
  3. While many metrics and social media measurement platforms tend to emphasize the role of influencers and opinion leaders (or the people we have labeled as such), Project Cascade has the potential to show that Twitter conversations diffuse throughout the Twittersphere by way of everyday/average users.
  4. Project Cascade also has the potential to help us learn more about what messages have a longer life expectancy or chance of propagating throughout the Twittersphere. This could have very practical implications, not only for media companies but for brands, organizations and individual Twitter users. Learning what constitutes value on Twitter is a secret we have yet to decode, and Project Cascade shows a lot of promise in terms of helping us move in that direction.
  5. Project Cascade will soon be used to visualize conversations for other publications and content providers, which means that this is a project that will not only help The New York Times learn from its own readers’ social conversations, but other organizations using social media will be able to do the same with their readers, viewers, customers, etc.

As a visual learner, infographics and visualizations are immensely valuable and infinitely more meaningful when it comes to learning concepts and understanding how they work, how they can be applied, and how they interact with each other.Here is a fantastic article about Project Cascade from the Fast Company Design blog. Below is a video that explains Project Cascade in more detail. I’m looking forward to its continued development and applications.Long live The New York Times.What are your thoughts on Project Cascade? Is it really the first of it’s kind? What take aways would you most look forward to?


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