Dimitri posted last week on IBM’s new fascinating new software Many Eyes. This is an open site that allows you to bring your own data and use IBM’s state-of-the-art visualization tools to bring them to life. (The uses to which people have put them make a telling story of the arcane interests of those in the data visualization cult!)
One of my favorite groups is visualizations by amateur biblical scholars that chart the connections between different figures in the New Testament. The illustration above is a good example.
I’m interested in this because it’s a great example of The Ecosystem of Influence, which I’ve talked about before in connection with Facebook.
In the illustration above, Jesus is, as you’d expect the centre of the ecosystem, but you can quickly read the other major figures and the patterns of interaction.
In this example, you can click on different figures to isolate their patterns of influence in a different color. (Click on Jesus, and the web lights up like a Christmas tree!) You can even drag and click the different figures to shape the web differently.
This is a very useful tool for the new PR, which our colleague John Bell talks about extensively in his blog, The Digital Influence Mapping Project. In the old PR, influence worked top down. You would have tried to secure the endorsement of Jesus and leave it at that. In the new world, you can build up from a variety of different influencers. In the 2003 book, The Influentials, this is described by authors Jon Berry and Ed Keller as moving from the “era of deference to the era of influence”.