Friday, June 17, 2011

The Power of Data Visualization

The other day I came across these map mashups by Flickr contributer Eric Fisher and was reminded of the enormous value of data visualization. Eric used geo-tagged Flickr images and a homegrown classification method to determine which pictures were taken by local photographers (blue on the map) versus those taken by tourists (red). Yellow denotes undetermined.

In 15 seconds or less, “Where would you advertise if you wanted to reach tourists?”

I could show this map to my 6 yr old daughter and she would immediately point out the red concentrations. No quant jock or data junkie required.

Granted, this was a laborious process for Eric to plot the thousands of data points but tools and analytics packages are being developed to automate this task.

If you want to really get fancy, imagine tracking tourists by time of day. How about combining it with retailer data to see where tourists are spending? How about tracking the uplift in spending from specific marketing campaigns?

Tremendous volumes of real-time, location and social data are being generated from mobile devices and applications. Data visualization brings order and insight to the data, and the opportunity for highly effective ad and offer targeting.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Use BlockWild to create an embedded map of multiple events

Check out this example for the 'Off the Grid' Food Truck events in San Francisco. Just post them on the website under the same account. Not only will your events appear on a local community event map but you can create an embedded map for your website or blog by clicking "Share or Embed this Map' and cutting and pasting the widget code.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Now you can create map widgets on BlockWild

Check out this map widget of Bay Area Farmers Markets that you can create on BlockWild.

It's easy to make a widget out of any form of mapped content you see on the BlockWild: garage sales, festivals, farmers markets, "events in the Inner Richmond this weekend", or just create a map widget for a specific event.

Just click the "Share or Embed this Map" button to create a widget out of any content you have displayed.

Changes are coming to BlockWild

We really appreciate all the local content that users have contributed to the BlockWild map recently.

However, based on feedback from a lot of you we've decided to focus our efforts on building a map of community events in the Bay Area. This means that two things are happening: 1) The BlockWild web application will now geolocate on San Francisco when you first come to the site. This is so that we can highlight what a robust community map of local events looks like; and 2) We've decided to focus on sharing and discovering local EVENTS on the BlockWild map. This primarily what users have been sharing and searching for and we'd like to really focus the message of the website. If we can build a replicable community around local events then we will 'add back' classifieds, rentals, etc.

Even though the site initially locates on San Francisco you can still search, discover and post events on a local map of your community by typing your location in the NEAR field.

Thanks for understanding and check out our new look. Keep an eye out for some other cool features, like our map widgets that are coming out.

As usual, don't forget that you can use the BlockWild Facebook to create a map tab for your Facebook fan page.

Take care,

The BlockWild Team

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Social Logins: Twitter vs. Facebook

Given the concerns surrounding privacy these days I have a couple of questions as to how people are using social login services like Facebook and Twitter. While these services are helpful in removing barriers related to users engaging with our websites/web services I have a hunch that they are (or will be) used for different purposes.

Who do you trust with access to your Facebook information?

While we've already incorporated Facebook Connect in our web app, we recently added a Twitter login button to in order to encourage users to test it out without having to be concerned about potentially exposing loads of 'private' Facebook information to a new and unverified web application. We shall see which service NEW users gravitate towards.

Is Twitter a more disposable social login service?

My hunch is that users generally view Twitter as a 'lower risk' login service for testing new applications while reserving Facebook Connect for services that they are comfortable entrusting their social graph to. Ironically, it seems the wealth of information that can be accessed through Facebook could potentially be a barrier to users signing up through Facebook Connect.

Anyone care to share any experiences with these two alternatives?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Recycle and Reuse Hyperlocally

Post and search classifieds on a local mapSure we'd all like to do our part by recycling and reusing as much as well can. Nothing wrong with saving a little green in these times either.

So why can't we SEE what our neighbors (and broader community) have for sale all around us - things like furniture, kids stuff, old sports equipment - that we can recycle and reuse. There has to be a better way to search and discover what is available rather than scrolling through reqional lists of stuff for sale on classified sites. Why not post and search for classifieds on a local map.

As a matter of fact, I'd almost argue that there's a potential window shopping or impulse shopping effect - you may not even realized that you were looking for something until you saw that it was available right down the street from you.

That's why we created - to give people the ability to post information (like classifieds or garages sales) directly to a local map for their whole community to see.

By posting your item on BlockWild you'll also create an informative map link to use on other classified sites. But instead of just mapping a location you'll show viewers a shapshot of all the relevant information: description, image gallery, links, etc. Plus, your map and popup are easily shared on Facebook and Twitter.

Map of Classified Ads in the Bay Area