Social media is such an amazing development. Who knew it would have such an impact on our lives? I really enjoy talking about the benefits it can bring to start-up business in my monthly workshop at the Library.
The sheer numbers involved are mind boggling. With over 2.2 billion users across the many platforms.
The current leader-board (in millions of users) looks likes this:
But I find the slide that makes the most impact in my workshop is The Internet in Real-Time. Just click on the image below and spend a few seconds watching the various counters as they race upwards. I find it truly astonishing just how much content is being generated every single minute of the day.
“Christbaumkugel” by User:Euro2008
According to consultancy firm PwC, Christmas spending in the UK totalled £43bn in 2013, with consumers spending £680 on goods in the last two months of the year.
The Christmas period is still the busiest for the UK’s retailers, with just under a quarter of annual spending being carried out in the last two months of the year.
This year I did my bit for the Christmas economy by buying my first ever Christmas fir tree. After seeing lots of signs offering trees for sale, we ended up at the ultimate niche pop-up which sold Christmas trees, stands and nothing else. But they were doing a roaring trade, driven by a single sign by the side of the road.
Sign says all it needs to
The site was professionally run, with the trees sorted by size and needle-drop variety (drop or non-drop). I assumed they would only accept cash, but they had a credit card machine tucked away in a cosy shed. With our 8 foot whopper selected, they soon had it wrapped up, and three burly men carefully inserted it point-first into our car (for easy extraction at home).
Plenty of Christmas trees to choose from
Our Web in Feb month has got me thinking about the impermanence of so much internet content.
Companies put a great deal of useful information online, but rarely have a strategy for maintaining or persevering it. This is where the British Library comes in. Preserving the UK web is a natural extension of our traditional role of preserving UK printed material.
So if you are researching business that no longer exist, or blogs which have ceased to be updated, have a look at the UK Web Archive
Collecting since 2004, the UK Web Archive contains websites of cultural and research relevance relating to the UK. Its purpose is to collect, preserve and give permanent access to key UK websites for future generations. It is a selective and unique archive, built on nominations from subject specialists in and outside of the Library, alongside public nominations. With over 10,000 different websites, the archive is one of the library’s largest ‘born-digital’ collections.
The archive team have made searching easier by adding indexing terms (meta-tags) and added research tools such as Ngram visualisations.
You can read more about developments in the archive on their blog
Although I have never really believed in the old cliché a picture is worth a thousand words, I have been a big fan of effective illustrations for many years.
I started with the seminal works The Visual Display of Quantitative Information and Envisioning Information by statistician and sculptor, Edward Tufte. Although, I have to say I was always somewhat underwhelmed by his examples.
Thanks to a recent BBC series on The Beauty of Diagrams, I discovered that Florence Nightingale (who is best known as the nurse who cared for thousands of soldiers during the Crimean War), was the first to use statistical graphics as to illustrate the causes of mortality.
More recently I have discovered the Cool Infographics blog, and have seen some excellent examples of effective presentations of statistical information.
The Conversation Prism 3.0 for 2010 shows the major players in each of 28 different online conversation categories.
Although not strictly speaking statistics related, How Would You Like Your Graphic Design? gets an important point across very effectively.