#NFL on Twitter

Viewer's Choice Presentation

By: Chris Thomas

#NFL on Twitter Application

Twitter offer's interactive visualizations of various hashtags used throughout the web. It aggregates the data and provides very friendly visualizations for you to interact with. Obviously, it would be impossible to do this for every hashtag however many large sporting events, political events and other worldly things are provided this feature by Twitter. I chose to do the 2014 NFL season because we are still currently in season and football is one of my favorite sports.

Any tweet tagged with a #NFL hashtag as well as a few others (such as player or team hashtags) are included in the data and then the tweet is scanned for player names or team name to see who is the most talked about in the given week.

The visualization default's to a view of the current week however any previous week can still be accessed by selecting it towards the top. They also give options to switch between player view and team view as well as a '+' and '-' to zoom in and out accordingly.

Right below this is a dynamic bar graph showing the top 5 mentioned players (or teams) for the given week.

CLicking on a player's name reveals the most popular tweets about that person. Usually, these are tweets from celebrities or other famous athletes. You can cycle through these with the given left/right arrows

The right side of the visualization contains the Mentions Graph. This is a circular graph highlighting a specific person or team's volume of mentions throughout the given week. This is a great tool to see whose the most talked about in a given week... usually for a very good or a very bad reason.

The wheel itself is scrollable and draggable and allows you to select the most talked about players. Selecting the player showcases the player's top tweets and retweets.

I found this useful to find top new's and stories about a certain player, such as a good play they made or a bad call, and it allowed me to easily focus in on the ones most talked about.

Given that Twitter is social media it only make's sense they give you the option to tweet about this interactive visualization. They also allow you to embed the utility as an iframe too right into your own HTML code which I thought was pretty useful if you wanted to make use of this instead of having to link to the main page.

Here's where the buttons are for these.

I've embedded it right here:

I feel the most useful features of this application is the ability to read the news in the NFL without actually watching the news. I think long gone are the days where your daily news only comes from newspapers and televised news programs and I enjoyed finding out the top stories through the various forms of social media. Twitter actively partakes in helping this process happen as well so I think that's pretty cool.

If they could do anything differently I think they should allow easier selctions within the mention's graph. On high resolution displays it can be hard to select the individual players or teams and you really need to scroll in to select them. That and I kept dragging the graph all over my screen. It should remain stationary but dynamic.

I also think it would be really cool if they could link each player tag to an indicidual player profile from the NFL so that you could get every current stat and compare between the players. I know you could always just go to another website for that but it would be convienent to be able to check current stats regarding top players in the news.