New visualization tool groups like-minded commentators into "opinion clusters" to facilitate better communication.
The Berkeley Center for New Media at the University of California, Berkeley, has launched a new visualization and mapping system to encourage dialogue between Internet users who post comments online.
"Opinion Space" is an experimental opinion visualization system that represents people's viewpoints in relation to each other. Opinions appear as stars in a constellation that puts like viewpoints together and differing opinions farther apart.
"New tools are needed to actively engage online groups in dialogue and decision-making on topics ranging from art to public policy to zoology," U.C. Berkeley Professor Ken Goldberg, who is on the team that's developing the system, said in a statement released Wednesday.
Users can manipulate a sliding scale to show how much they agree or disagree with statements. They can type their answers to a discussion question, which changes every two weeks, and see others' opinions. Users can show if their opinions change. They can also read and rate others' comments.
"Massive collaboration is driven by passionate people with divergent viewpoints who come from all walks of life," Wikimedia communications director Jay Walsh said in a prepared statement. "UC Berkeley's Opinion Space is an exciting new visual model that helps people learn about and interact with each other. This kind of mutual awareness could have far-reaching implications."
The first Opinion Space constellations and discussion questions focus on U.S. politics. Eventually, they'll also cover the economy, education, and the environment. Berkeley researchers plan to refine the system, adding new functions and features while users participate.
"Linear lists are often dominated by extreme postings that can oversimplify and overshadow the rich variety of viewpoints," Howard Rheingold, author of Smart Mobs, said in a prepared statement.
InformationWeek is conducting a survey to find out more about the type of information you need and how you'd like to receive it. Find out more, and take part by April 24 to be eligible to win an iPod Touch.
Social is a Business ImperativeThe use of social media for a host of business purposes is rising. Indeed, social is quickly moving from cutting edge to business basic. Organizations that have so far ignored social - either because they thought it was a passing fad or just didnít have the resources to properly evaluate potential use cases and products - must start giving it serious consideration.
Social is a Business ImperativeSocial media is critical in the age of digital business. How can IT help? First, work with the marketing team to set up social networking programs on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, at minimum. Then work to put social media sentiment analytics in place to measure success.
InformationWeek Must Reads Oct. 21, 2014InformationWeek's new Must Reads is a compendium of our best recent coverage of digital strategy. Learn why you should learn to embrace DevOps, how to avoid roadblocks for digital projects, what the five steps to API management are, and more.