I attended an event called WorkbenchCon this last weekend. The whole gathering is based around makers of various types, most of which make videos and stuff online. One trend that has popped up among the community of folks who make videos and photography is to share stickers, usually touting their youtube channel. John Kuiphoff however, took things a different direction, and his vision blew me away. He created a series of stickers that were data visualizations of different people’s youtube accounts. Each sticker was unique and gorgeous.
The visualization John chose was a cross cut of a tree. The individual rings are individual videos, and the ring width is directly connected to the video length.
I really enjoy uncovering stories in data – like a digital archeologist. Over the last couple of years, I’ve watched more than a healthy dose of maker-related videos on YouTube. When the tree graphics were generated, I could immediately recognize stories in many of the trunks. It was also interesting to play with the data – for example, mapping ring size to views instead of video duration tells a different story.
Last week, one of my students asked me why I was making these. I explained to them that when you’re trying to learn something new or have a goal that seems really big, it’s really helpful to have a few “heroes” to look up to. These visualizations were a simple way for me to say “thanks” to those who have had an impact on what I’m doing today.
Not only is this incredibly personal and flattering, they’re not competitive! I felt this project was just simply beautiful and such an original way to pay homage to those you enjoy without making it some kind of competition. That being said, Diresta‘s was almost the size of a movie poster.
It was also important for me to not make the visualizations seem competitive – that’s why I close to visualize video duration instead of views, subscribers or likes.
He also brought a couple that were laser cut in wood to show off. Here you can see the results from David Pacciuto (Make Something) on Youtube
If you’re up to digging through John’s code, he’s been cool enough to share it on his Github for people to tinker with.
Update: Click the images below to see the high resolution files – Thanks John! –