Landon Donovan Visualized

Yesterday Landon Donovan tore up the right flank of the pitch at the Emirates Stadium and helped his new club Everton secure a draw against my beloved Arsenal. This morning one of the soccer blogs I follow showed this great visualization of Donovan’s impact on the game.

The graph shows Donovan’s completed passes in blue. If you roll across the dots you can see when he passed to which team mate.

The graph is built with the Guardian’s interactive chalkboard which has apparently been around for almost a year. I have to say that I am ashamed that I only found out about this fantastic little tool today. OK, I have been living in the US now for 6 years and I have started to refer to the beautiful game as soccer (mainly because I discovered the other beautiful game of American football). And coverage of soccer in the US media is spotty at best. But that should still not be an excuse for not knowing about this amazing interactive visualization tool.

It uses data collected by UK company Prozone who record all Premier League matches and use that footage to code all data on passes, shots, tackles etc for every player on the pitch. The guardian then build this very easy to use application that allows every aspiring Arsene Wenger (who was one of the early Prozone adopters) to analyze the patterns of the game.

What is probably most impressive about this little application is the ease with which one can share chalkboards with others. This makes it a potentially powerful social media tool. And with most of the coverage of soccer in the US happening on social media, it could be a great tool to educate the US audience on the tactical aspects of the game. Nothing gets America more excited about sports than stats and analysis!

via thedoublethink.com

Mapping Holiday Makers With Twitter

On the face of it this looks like a really innovative and forward thinking use of tech, providing another way that some clever people are using Twitter for yet another mash-up. This time it has the clout of Vodafone behind it, itself speaking volumes for the medium with some actual investment behind it and solid rationale. Vodafone want to make a song and dance about abolishing roaming charges and by making itself front of mind when thinking about holidaying, it’s doing just that. Clever.

There’s been a lot of buzz about hashtag spamming, most famously used (and abused to horrible effect) by Habitat. If you don’t know what I’m talking about then see more here, here and here. I hope this also serves as a case study for any brand looking to get in to the dark and dangerous waters of the social web of how NOT to do it. When did anyone at Habitat think that using irrelevant messaging would target the relevant and targeted customers who would shop at Habitat.

This, on the other hand, makes brilliant use of the hashtag #ukhols. Check it out and see what you think.

Vodafone Twitter Map

However, it’s almost as if you’re putting a sign up outside you’re house, “Hello Mr Burglar, just letting you know that I’m off on holiday for 2 weeks so during that time my house will be empty. Feel free to take whatever you like, no one will be here to stop you”

Granted, I’m being a little facetious in so far that you don’t give out your exact address, just providing the first half of your post code but by providing your name (which most people do on their Twitter page) it wouldn’t be hard to find out more if you wanted to.

What I do like though is the ‘Top Destinations’ part of the site which is where you can see which part of the world holiday makers are heading to using #ukhols. Perhaps predictably, considering the people the site would interest, the US was ahead of the curve, with at the time of writing New York being the top destination to be heading to. Paris followed in 2nd place with Vancouver in 3rd.

While the idea for me is more a showcase of the technology and what can be done with it more than it’s something of real value and use, Vodafone have to be applauded for taking a further leap in to the social space.  Over the past year, they’ve really made a push for getting involved. Their ‘Live Guy’ campaign, which saw people tracking a man across the UK via GPS and Twitter in order to win a netbook was hugely innovative, engaging and interactive while they recently ran a ‘Twitter Hunt’ to advertise the HTC Magic phone. This is going to be the way of companies looking to engage with savvy internet users who love some shiny new way of engagement, myself included. Thumbs up here.