Using network perspectives to visualize changing culture and meaning


I’m a big fan of Tim Stock‘s work, which weaves together a deep network perspective with a rich view of how culture is changing informed by semiotic analysis. I earlier shared one of his presentations in a post on how the culture of luxury is changing.

The slides to his presentation at SXSW today on Culture Networks and the codes that drive them are available below. As usual, they provide a lesson in beautiful slide presentations to accompany the rich content.

Culture Networks (SXSW 2012)

View more presentations from Tim Stock

While I virtually never share press release content, I find the products Tim’s company ScenarioDNA is releasing today in conjunction with his talk to be interesting enough to be worth sharing:

The CultureIntelligence apps provide a multidimensional view as a three-part Java series that read and visualize cultural data across social media, as well as independent corpuses. Migrations is a 2D matrix that tracks the migration of cultures over time. Dimensions is a 3D graph that explores the varied meaning of words based on cultural context. Signals organizes shared imagery according to modes of expression. Each app reflects a facet of what real thought processes actually look like in the development of meaningful ideas and connections.

scenarioDNA collaborated with Amherst, MA-based Texifter using DiscoverText on the data analytics and Waltham, MA-based Advanced Visual Systems (AVS) using OpenViz software for the data visualization.

Applying cultural intelligence allows innovators to understand how meaning is changing, especially in regard to unique aspects of trust, authenticity and progress. It allows for better understanding of how certain features are being recast or modified or for engineering how an unexpected ingredient might come into play. And it lets us prospect the stories waiting to be told and know how technology can best be used to help people.

Essentially these are visual tools to give us insights into cultural flows. Without having seen anything about them other than the content in this blog, I can’t judge their value, but they certainly look fascinating. I hope to see many more tools emerge that provide visual and multi-dimensional insights into how we construct meaning is changing in turbulent times.