Data Digest – DIY Data
These days, we're getting really excited about all the ways that individuals can easily get their hands dirty playing with data. The tools are proliferating at an incredible pace, and there is no shortage of people finding more interesting, more creative and more fun ways to use them. From powerfully simple visualization tools, to deep personal data mining, we've been geeking out on Do-It-Yourself data. And we wanted to share a few things that got us going recently.
Even if you haven't heard of Nicholas Felton, chances are you've seen his work. He helped design the Facebook timeline. Felton is a big deal in the world of information design. He built his reputation by designing visual ‘Annual Reports’ of his life, using scores of data he tracks in his daily life. They’re impressive, to say the least. He also built a beautiful app called Daytum, that anyone can use to track and visualize their own daily data.
Then, there’s Stephen Wolfram, who we might call the deep personal data miner. Wolfram recently wrote an impressive blog piece, telling about his own experiments in personal data mining. Using 20 years of personal digital data (like e-mails, computer folders, calendars) he breaks down his own work habits and patterns, over 20 years, leading to some sharp insights about his own behavior.
Even if we’re not all aspiring Feltons and Wolframs, they represent a playful, do-it-yourself attitude toward our personal daily data. And it doesn’t take much digging to discover the vast set of tools that exist to enable us to play with data too. This list of 100 Tools, alone, will keep you occupied for a month. Want to start smaller? Try your graphing inbox, infographing your history, or visualizing your Foursquare.
One thing is for sure: the tools are not getting any weaker and the sources of data are not shrinking. New possibilities to experiment and play are showing up every day.
We think that’s pretty exciting.
Digital Data Strategist is a new Hyper Island program, based in Stockholm, that will launch in August 2012. Check out the program page for more details and feel free to get in touch if you have any questions!