The OccupyData hackathon analyses tweets related to occupy. From Friday 9 to Sunday 11 teams in Boston, LA and Utrecht will analyse the use of Twitter by the Occupy movement and the representation of Occupy in the Twitter-Sphere.
NMDC students are interested in data analysis and visualization. Popular platforms such as Twitter generate large amounts of data that can be scraped from the Internet. At the latest Future of Entertainment Conference in Boston we met Sasha Costanza-Chock who is affiliated with MIT's Civic Media Lab. Sasha is completely into researching the Occupy movement as it unfolds. Sasha pointed us to an upcoming hackathon on a large data set of Occupy tweets. Those had been scraped by R-Shief is a non-profit lab that collects large quantities of data. Among others R-Shief has a huge data set on Arab Spring related Tweets as well as on the Occupy movement. The Occupy dataset consists of over five million tweets containing Occupy related hashtags such as #occupyamsterdam #maspero, #occupyboston, #occupyfreedom and so forth. These huge samples constitute a great resource for analysis and visualization. Large data are a big challenge as well, and we are happy that NMDC will participate in the effort to make sense of the information provided in the data set.
The upcoming 3-day hackathon is open for the general public. The organizers deliberately do not limit the participation to experts, but ask everyone to "join this collective act of re-imagining our relationship with Twitter data and the Occupy movement. OccupyData is meant to serve as an intervention by offering experts and activists means to work together and think critically about the movement, its messages, and goals and the role new media, and specifically, Twitter might play in this system."
From Friday, December 9, 2011 through Sunday, December 11, 2011 teams around the globe will be working on analysing the data set. A live-stream connects the teams at location in Boston, Utrecht and Los Angeles as well as the many individual participants who have signed up for this exciting collaborative effort. The Utrecht team is headed by Ryanne Turenhout, an experienced Gephi tweaker and data scraper, supported by Thomas Boeschoten and Ruben Hazelaar. The team will gather at the SetUp Utrecht who generously host the NMDC team.
As new media students we are interested in the ways new technologies are employed in organizing, communicating and framing socio-political issues. To what extent is Twitter a crucial tool in distributing information on Occupy? To what extent does Twitter serve as communication tool inside the occupy movement? What kind of social clusters and larger networks can we locate in the 'Occupy Twitter Sphere' and who are the important nodes in dispersing information, and how are the tweets related to established media?