About

Randy Krum infographic designerRandy Krum

President of InfoNewt.
Data Visualization, Infographic Design, Visual Thinking, Product Development and Marketing professional fascinated by good infographics.  Always looking for better ways to get the point across.

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Wednesday
Apr202011

Social Media and College Admissions

 

Are colleges using social media as part of the student admissions process?  Schools.com explored this topic with the Reading Students like an Open Facebook infographic.  It’s hard enough to get teenagers to understand that online photos and status updates will be a permanent record of their behavior for the rest of their life, but even more immediately it could impact their entrance into college!

As Facebook has become more and more popular—if it were a country, it would be the third largest in the world—its use in the field of education has expanded, too. In fact, more than 80% of college admissions officers report using Facebook as part of their recruiting process. 

Are admissions officers really looking at the Facebook profiles of prospective students? And if so, are they making admissions decisions based on these profiles? Below is an infographic that highlights the answers to these questions and more—which might surprise you.

Thanks to Kristen for sending in the link!

Tuesday
Apr122011

The Current State of Social Networks #infographic

From ignite, a social media agency, comes The Current State of Social Networks.

It goes without saying that Facebook is the network du jour, but even though the reigning champion’s user stats keep soaring, social networking as a whole might be leveling off. Nevertheless, there are still scores of other highly competitive social sites that are waxing and waning; and different networks and apps are more popular in specific geographic areas, with certain genders or age groups, and even among various social classes.

For example, Plaxo is the network with the most users over the age of 65. Facebook is more popular with women, but Digg and Reddit tend to be more popular with men. LinkedIn is the “richest” social network, but Plurk outranks it when it comes to well-educated users who have graduate degrees.

They have a ton of traffic data to work with, and this infographic does a good job of summarizing some of the key findings at the top level. 

Found on Mashable and Social Media Graphics

Thursday
Feb102011

2010 Facebook vs. Twitter Social Demographics

Facebook vs. Twitter is a good one from DigitalSurgeons.com.  They’ve done a great job of compiling the data from at least 10 different sources, to create an overall profile of the standard Facebook and Twitter users.

One has over 500 million users, the other just over 100 million. But who are they and what’s their behavior? What’s their value to a brand? How old are they? What’s their education? How much do they make? Just exactly what does the Facebook vs. Twitter landscape look like? Good questions. Here’s how we see it.

The use of the Polar Area Chart (also called a Nightingale Rose Diagram) does a good job of breaking down the demographic information into 11 different categories.  Unlike a standard pie chart, each slice is the same angle, and only the radius of each slice conveys value.

The difficulty in using this visualization style, is that it’s hard for the reader to compare between the two diagrams.  Does Twitter or Facebook have more logins by mobile device?  The reader can’t tell from the visuals, and they have to move back and forth reading the values to tell the difference.

One possible alternative would have been to put everything into one Polar Area Chart, so for every section the Facebook slice is next to the Twitter slice.  That way you could visually compare the two without reading the numbers or comparing between two charts.

Thanks Matt for sending in the link!

Thursday
Jan062011

The 2010 Year in Review #infographic

 

OnlineSchools.org has released the 2010 Year in Review zoomable infographic summarizing the major events of 2010.  The zoomable version is below, and it’s best viewed in full-screen million.

I have mixed feelings about this one.  Using the outer space metaphor, there are 15 major news categories with text descriptions of a handful of events in each.  Each event has a small celestial body illustration related to it, and a measure of blog posts and tweets on Twitter related to the event.

 

It really does need the zoomable feature, because the font sizes are dramatically different between the titles and the text.  That does make it difficult to read sometimes.  I noticed the Star Trek font used as well as part of the sections.

In the corners are some visualizations of things like Top Memes, Top Songs, Twitter Trends, Yahoo Searches and Google’s Fastest Rising Searches.

 


I think this one is missing good sources for where their information came from, a designer listing, some of the text s too small and in some cases is more illustration then infographic.  Overall it’s fun to zoom around and appreciate the details they’ve included.

Thanks Brittany!

 

 

Wednesday
Oct202010

Brazilian Presidential Elections infographic

From TwitRadar.com is a cool tracking map of Twitter posts during August 2010 related to the Brazilian Presidential Election and the candidates.  Data is captured from www.twiteleitoral.com.br

It describes the daily variations on the number of quotations for the top 2 more mentioned candidates, Dilma and Serra. It also points out “of the curve” campaign or media events that took affect on the twitter chattering.

Norton Amato Jr. and his team were gracious enough to translate it into English for readers of Cool Infographics, and here is the original:

Big thanks to Norton and his team!  Great job!

Tuesday
Jun152010

InfoChimps Data API BETA program launched!

InfoChimps.com has launched the BETA program for the use of their data through InfoChimps APIs.  The two initial data sets are Twitter and U.S. Census data.

Initial pricing has been announced for this introductory period, and there is a level for FREE access for anyone who want to experiment with the data.

Found on ReadWriteWeb

Wednesday
Apr282010

Jess Bachman Interview (Death & Taxes 2011 Poster Giveaway!!)  #deathandtaxes

Last week, Jess Bachman (@mibi) from WallStats.com released the new 2011 Death & Taxes poster.  I caught up with Jess (by email) to ask some questions about his huge infographic undertaking.  The high-resolution image of the poster is available now online, and the printed version will start shipping on May 7th.  You can pre-order for $24, and the shipping cost is only $0.75 TODAY (April 28th)

WIN a copy of the poster!  Jess has been kind enough to offer a free poster to a reader of Cool Infographics.  To be eligible, you must tweet (or retweet) a link to this post on Twitter before May 7th, and include the #deathandtaxes hashtag.  I included the hashtag in the post title, so any retweets will be automatically eligible.  NOTE: you must also be following me on Twitter (@rtkrum) so that I can send you a DM if you have won!

Death and Taxes” is a large representational graph and poster of the federal budget. It contains over 500 programs and departments and almost every program that receives over 200 million dollars annually. The data is straight from the president’s 2011 budget request and will be debated, amended, and approved by Congress to begin the fiscal year. All of the item circles are proportional in size to their funding levels for visual comparison and the percentage change from both 2010 and 2001 is included so you can spot trends.

The detail in this poster is stunning, and in this small shot you can see how the total budget request breaks out. Only the “Military/Nat. Security Discretionary” and “Non-Military/Nat. Security Discretionary” portions of the budget request details are displayed in the poster.

 

Jess was also nice enough to answer a few interview questions I sent him:

Cool Infographics: What software applications do you use for the Death & Taxes posters?

Jess Bachman: The only applications I use are Photoshop and Excel.  Excel is where I in put all the data and it crunches the numbers, adjusts for inflation and calculates diameters.  Photoshop is where I put it all together and the PSD file occasionally exceeds 1 gig so it can be a beast to work with.  Saving takes about 5 minutes.

Cool Infographics: What’s your design process?

Jess Bachman: Normally I start from scratch and layout the images and make them fit; however, this year the budget didn’t change all that much, likely being from the same President, so I was able to keep the 2010 format and change the size of circles.  Of course some things had to be added and removed.  So this year I saved myself about 3 weeks of work just getting right into it, but the design process is grueling.  it’s small tasks, repeated 500 times.

Cool Infographics: What’s the most interesting thing you learned from the data?

Jess Bachman: I can definitely see the differences in Presidents from Bush to Obama.  Lots of reductions on the military side this year and the whole security climate as a whole isn’t as fiscally robust as it was a few years ago.  Much more progressive funding with Obama too.  Every year Bush would cut climate change research, now its back, along with other green tech.  For some reason, public proadcasting gets the hack saw every year no matter who’s in office.

Cool Infographics: Where are some of your favorite places that have the Death & Taxes poster on display?

Jess Bachman: Well it’s always good to see it on display in schools and classrooms.  But I really enjoy hearing from military members who have in their offices or even in station.  I have sent several to Afghanistan.  Critics often say the poster is anti-military, but the military is quite receptive to it, even the former Dept. of Defense Comptroller, Tina Jonas, loved the poster.  Some people from the Dept of Energy’s Oak Ridge Lab displayed the poster on their 30’ Everest computer screen… that was cool too.

Cool Infographics: What’s the hardest part when developing the poster?

Jess Bachman: The hardest part is just getting through all the rote data processing and mindless photoshopping.  The research side is quite fun, and going through the military budgets is a trip with all their classified and hi-tech programs. However, copying and pasting 5,000 times really takes a toll on my creativity and motivation.

Cool Infographics: You said you do a lot of copy & paste work, in what format do you get the data?

Jess Bachman: Some of the government data is in Excel already, but there is no context so I am dubious about working solely with their data sets.  Mostly I pull the numbers from the actual printed budget, which is in PDF form.  So I end up copying and pasting the program name and its funding level for 3 years into Excel, then I copy and paste the program name, funding level, and percentages back into photoshop as a text layer.  Rinse and repeat 500 times.  Many people ask if there was an automated way to create the poster each year and I wish there was, but the confines of the paper make size and fit a manual process.

Cool Infographics: Where do you have them printed, what are the printing specs and why?

Jess Bachman: I get my posters printed from a company called PrintPelican in Florida.  There really are no cheaper prices out there but I opt for a thicker cut of paper than usual.  I get 100# gloss cover which is a few shades from a business card in thickness.  To be honest, they have screwed up my order a few times over the years but we have always managed to work it out.  I usually print runs of 1000-2500 and always 24” x 36”.

Cool Infographics: How do you handle all of the printing and shipping of the posters?  Do you tube them yourself?

Jess Bachman: I used to do it all myself.  I had a 400lb brick of posters next to my bed, and 12 giant boxes of tubes all over the house, and I would roll pack and ship them all.  Now I use two shippers who do fulfillment of the orders for me.  For a while I would send them the orders and addresses weekly but I have offloaded that duty as well.  I think the self shipping method is a good lesson in customer service and its good to know your product inside and out, but after while my time became more valuable than stuffing tubes could afford.

Cool Infographics: You’ve used a few different online zoomable image services in the last few years, what have you learned?

Jess Bachman: There are lots of zooming options out there and new ones seem to pop up all the time.   I used Zoomify until it felt too clunky and slow, then Zoomorama which I really loved for its performance and options.  This year I experimented with an self hosted open source app called Open Zoom and it certainly was a slick and great user experience, unfortunately the demands it placed on my server from huge inflows of traffic proved too much, taking down the whole site.  So I had to switch to my backup, which was Closr.it, and let them deal with server demands.  Closr.it has been very attentive to my needs and I have found that most developers will work with me to tailor a custom solution if I ask.  The zooming apps keep getting better so I expect to keep changing apps as long as the space keeps innovating.

Cool Infographics: You mentioned the 30’ display, have you printed it out in larger sizes?

Jess Bachman: No, I have not printed it out any larger.  The file being Photoshop, and the images being mostly rastered do not allow quality printing beyond the poster size.  The file is 300 dpi so I could get away with a slightly larger size, but oversize printing is expensive and who wants a poster that big anyways. 

Cool Infographics: Where do the images come from?

Jess Bachman: Most of the military images come from defenseLINK, which is a great repository for hi-res military photos.  Other images come from stock photography sites for the most part.  It does help that most government logos are round.  I suppose it’s just an old school way of doing things, government seals and all.  The design aesthetic amongst government logos is really all over the map though, and its quite interesting.  Some look like that are from the 1700’s, and some from the 2700’s.

 There was one correction to the online version that Jess has posted:

So I totally had the wrong data for NASA on the visual. Here is the corrected image, which reflects what you have been reading in the news. Science up, space down. I fixed it before it was printed, don’t worry.

You can view the image, buy the poster and more at the new site DeathandTaxesPoster.com.

SPECIAL: If you pre-order the poster TODAY (April 28th) shipping is only $0.75!

Tuesday
Apr272010

The Color of Twitter

I really like The Color of Twitter from InfoChimps.org that plots the background colors used by all 40 million of the Twitter.com users.  I do think the infographic would be better if they had actually extended out the default light blue color instead of just noting that it extends 4.8x longer.  They also don’t account for background images that cover the background color, which would account for a large number of people not changing their colors.

As part of the release of a number of new, free Twitter data sets, Infochimps created the following beautiful infographic showing just what color Twitter really is.

The data for the infographic comes from the just-launched Histograms dataset that aggregates anonymous data about Twitter users such as how many users have x number of friends or followers, or how many users are in x location. The company also released new data sets (paid) about stock tickers, hashtags and URLs on Twitter.

Found on Mashable.com

Tuesday
Jan192010

6 Twitter Topic Visualizations for "Caffeine Poster"

The Caffeine Poster got a huge amount of traffic, specifically on Twitter, so I thought this would be a good chance to share a collection of the available, interactive twitter visualizations.  Although there are many visuals that show a Twitter user’s network of connections, these are visualizations that show conversations based on the search topic “caffeine poster” on Twitter.

SocialCollider.net, by Karsten Schmidt and Sascha Pohflepp, maps the connections within a conversation starting with a Twitter stream or search topic.

This experiment explores these possibilities by starting with messages on the microblogging-platform Twitter. One can search for usernames or topics, which are tracked through time and visualized much like the way a particle collider draws pictures of subatomic matter. Posts that didn’t resonate with anyone just connect to the next item in the stream. The ones that did, however, spin off and horizontally link to users or topics who relate to them, either directly or in terms of their content.

 

The Twitter Streamgraph from Jeff Clark at Neoformix.

The StreamGraph shows the usage over time for the words most highly associated with the search word. One of these series together with a time period are in a selected state and coloured red. The tweets that contain this word in the given time period are shown below the graph. You can click on another word series or time period to see different matches. In the match list you click on any word to create a different graph with tweets containing that word. You can also click on the user or comment icons and any URL to see the appropriate content in another window. If you see a large spike in one time period that hides the detail in all the other periods it will be useful to click in the area to the left of the y-axis in order to change the vertical scale.

 

Cloud.li, by Elbert F, creates a word cloud based on your search terms.

 

 

 

Trendistic will plot the tweet volume on a timeline based on your search terms.  You can click anywhere on the timeline to see the specific tweets for that time too.

Trendistic is a tool that allows you to track trends on Twitter, similarly to what Google Trends does for Google searches. It gathers tweets as they are posted, filters redundant ones and compiles the rest into one-hour intervals.

This way, it shows how the frequency of one, two, three and four-word phrases fluctuate over time. The result is a visualization of what is popular and what is not among Twitter users, and how certain events are reflected or even predicted by themicroblogosphere.

You can enter a phrase (topic) in the 
Trendistic search box to see how its frequency varies over time, or several different topics separated by commas to see how they relate (each topic will show in the chart with a specific color): try comparing ‘dinner’ and ‘breakfast’ or ‘morning’ and ‘night’ for instance, to see how powerful it can be. 

 

 

TwitterFall shows you the tweets based on your search term, and presents them as an animated waterfall.

Twitterfall is a way of viewing the latest ‘tweets’ of upcoming trends and custom searches on the micro-blogging site Twitter. Updates fall from the top of the page in near-realtime.

For popular trends, Twitter is queried from the Twitterfall server, and results arepushed to your browser, rather than your browser doing the queries, or your computerpolling our server repeatedly. This means using Twitterfall for popular trends is nicer on Twitter than other services.

 

 

 TwitRadar.com will map out a search term, a user or a hastag into a handful of different visuals.

Google Translated from Portuguese: The TwitRadar is a tool for monitoring Twitter. With TwitRadar you can track, monitor and share real-time, the subject you want. Just type the tag you want to track, the TwitRadar show, very simple and intuitive, all that is written about it on Twitter. And not to be confused with the volume of information tracked, the TwitRadar organizes the results according to the criteria that you want.

Tuesday
Jan122010

Bronson Wins Infographic Poster!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Congrats to Bronson Harrington (@Gnuboss on Twitter)!  Bronson won a free poster of his choice from Infojocks.com by retweeting about the infographic contest we announced in December.  By including the #BCSvisual hashtag, Bronson was then randomly selected to receive the free poster.

The contest wraps up next week, so look here for all of the entries and the winner.

Thanks to everyone for helping to spread the word!