With the recent and upcoming laws on digital privacy and it rising as a topic of high importance for all firms and nations, we realized that it is necessary for the user to understand what information social media platforms have about them, through an effective visual representation. We also realize that, in the age of social media, it is very important to know how one comes across, especially in the digital realm where many physical cues and contexts are absent. Our web application aims to address both of these goals.
What it does
We allow a user to import their data, provided by social media giants such as Facebook, and help them visualize their social network using a scatter plot of individuals shown as “bubbles” with their size depending on the relative amount of engagement they have had with the user. We also visually demonstrate various speech patterns of the user: how frequently they use profanity, how frequently they abbreviate, how "positive" they appear when they engage with others, and so on. Doing so not only enables users to easily see the information technology companies have of them, they can also gain a better understanding of how they come across to others.
Challenges we ran into
Ideation was definitely the hardest part of the process. It was very difficult for us to find a topic that addressed a modern need, was feasible given our time constraints and expertise, and would be interesting to work on. Throughout the process, we also struggled with learning the new technologies. Two members of our team had never built anything with Python before, and had to learn very quickly how to use the libraries. However, through team support, this was something we were able to do very well.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
It is one of the first hardware hackathons for all of us and it was a fresh experience to work on a project in 36 hours and especially catching a final idea after a long phase of brainstorming at the start. We had little experience with any of the web development platforms to start with, but now we learned how to set up a web application using Flask, and have fully functioning file handling, parsing, and visualization packages running together on our application.
What we learned
We hope to take Visualizr to the next level by filling in all the places in which we did not have enough time to fully explore due to the nature of a hackathon. In the future, we can research more into visualization techniques for a social network and also come up with innovative measures of your quality and type of engagement as well as the degree of involvement with the network.