Digg Trends

By: Jeff Clark    Date: Tue, 29 Jan 2008

The design of the Digg Election Story Analyzer has been improved and generalized so that it can be used for all the topics and subtopics available on Digg. I'm calling the result Digg Trends. The tool loads the latest 500 popular stories for the desired topic and analyzes the text found in the story titles and descriptions. The image below shows the current results for the 'Technology' topic.

Static image - click it to launch the interactive application

The Digg Trends analysis focuses on four words at any given time. A different color is used for each. The graph at the top shows how the number of references to each of the four words varies over time. You can turn off the 'Stacked' checkbox to show a line graph which does a better job of showing which word is referenced the most at any given time.

For much of this past month of January, 2008 Apple has had much greater attention within the Digg community than Microsoft, Google, or Digg itself. There was a large spike in Apple references around Jan 16th which corresponds to the announcement of the MacBook Air at MacWorld. Attention to Digg was higher than Apple around January 23rd.

The left side of the tool display shows what I call a Word Association Cloud for each of the four words of interest. Visually, a Word Association Cloud looks like a standard Tag Cloud except the topmost word is made distinct in some manner. Here I use a faint block of color behind it. Rather than using font size to represent a simple word frequency the size here illustrates how good the correlation is with the primary word. For example, we can easily see above that apple is highly associated with the words macbook, air, macworld and more weakly associated with words like ssd and penryn. Similarly, Microsoft is highly associated with bill, gates, vista, and office. You can click on any of the primary words to enter edit mode and change it to whatever you wish. Or you can simple click on one of the associated terms to make it the new primary term.

The bar chart shows the number of stories (out of the latest 500) that contain the various terms or combinations of the terms. In this example the topmost bar shows that the blue word, 'apple', occurs in 81 stories. The bar with both a green and blue circle beside it shows that there are 3 stories that contain both 'apple' and 'microsoft' used together.

One of the circle labels in the bar chart is selected - the one with the white rectangle around it. In this example it is the blue bar. Below the graph the stories that match this bar are shown in reverse chronological order. You can hover over these stories to see the description or click on them to view them in another browser tab.

In the top left corner there is a button called 'Load New Topic' which can be used to investigate another area within Digg. Give Digg Trends a try !


Word Association Clouds