A research project at The New York Times has brought a unique type of artwork into existence—a video displaying the activity around The New York Times’ website and mobile access. The beauty of the video is that it offers a moving, dynamic perspective on the activity that can seem otherwise intangible.
The activity, of course, can be retro-processed to find out which news stories were associated with surges and lulls. The news of the death of Michael Jackson, for instance, demonstrates the energy created from a population of people accessing a single news source for the latest details regarding the event.
The data rendition also shows how print media is considered by a certain population of people, offering insight into the growing relationship between individuals and their desire to stay updated to the news. Whether encouraging or discouraging, the visual graph also conveys a certain attitude towards the adoption of electronic retrieval of our news.
There’s really no telling how this information could be used other than as a point of interest, a study in current demographics, and as art. But as the print media continues to find new ways in which to fit into the new digital era, the junction of The New York Times, its readers and supporting devices emphasizes our current period of transformation.
That transformation is a reflection of the relationship between The New York Times and its mobile and PC readers. Looking closely at this relationship can point the media company in the right direction when looking towards the future of news and information distribution.
While the visual graph does not show direct correlations or even the suggestion of indirect correlations amongst these relationships, it does encourage us to think about the growing influence of mobile technology. In addition to its ability to provide highly personalized information, mobile devices tend to change the definition of access to knowledge. That’s a relationship that works in both directions.
Both consumers and media companies should remain aware of the ramifications that go along with mutual access, often facilitated by handy mobile devices. Compromises are continuing to be made on the part of all parties involved, but the relationship between consumer and service provider will only flourish of hose compromises are considered to be fair.
So where does The New York Times fit into all of this? The company’s desire to regain its market share in the digital realm gives it more reason to dig down into the data used to create such unique and interesting artwork. Seeking ways in which to improve its own ability to better serve its direct and mobile access to is readers will help The New York Times to reach its goals in that regard.