The saying “a picture speaks a thousand words” could not be more relevant to the idea of visual representation of information through social media tools. Whether the information we are seeking is data presented in the form of a graph or an aerial view of a crowd at a political gathering or protest, these visualisations tell a story. Data visualisation techniques can reveal interesting patterns in online crowds and communities and can tease out layers of rich and detailed information about them (Hunter, 2010). By presenting information such as data about a general election in the form of a graph or pie chart it summarises a large quantity of information into a visual form, automatically making it easy for us to understand it without the requirement of any additional explanation.
The recent addition of the “screen time” feature to the apples iPhone software is a good example of how information can be represented visually through social media tools. This is an important indicator for us to be notified on how long we spend on our cell-phones each day and it also shows us the percentage of time we spend on each application or social networking site. According to the Pew research Centre, 54% of U.S teens say that they spend too much time on their phones and 2/3 parents expressed concern about their children’s screen time (Jiang, 2018). The use of the screen time feature on the iPhone can encourage people to begin to limit the time spent on their phones each day by comparing the visuals from one week to the next and calculating the percentage change between them. Due to the ability of this social media tool we are able to visually see just how much time that we are spending on our cell-phones – information which is valuable to both ourselves and others.
Hunter, W. (2010, December 15). Social network visualization techniques can change how we understand relationships between people. Retrieved from UX Magazine: https://uxmag.com/articles/social-seen
Jiang, J. (2018, August 22). How Teens and Parents navigate Screen Time and Device Distractions. Retrieved from Pew Research Center: http://www.pewinternet.org/2018/08/22/how-teens-and-parents-navigate-screen-time-and-device-distractions/