Monday, September 29, 2008

Collaborative Interactive Multimedia Economic Timeline

I recently posted a ton of information related to our current economic crisis. but as I scrolled through it, it was clear to me that the blog format simply didn't do the topic justice. It occurred to me that an interactive timeline might be more effective, especially if it was created as a collaboration of people from a variety of disciplines.

Initially, I wanted to create something dynamic, in near-real time, but with my busy life, that would be an impossible feat. So I'm throwing this idea out there for people to think about. I'm searching for examples of interactive time lines, especially those that have a wiki component.

Here are a few examples I found since my long post:

  • Editorial cartoons- Robert Ariail' response to a statement uttered by one of our nation's politicians, from the State newspaper, graphically depicts what was going on September 17, 2008: The Fundamentals are Sound
The Fundamentals Are Sound
Note: This was taken from Robert Ariail's pages on The State website, and was created by Robert Ariail. I posted here for educational purposes and will taken down upon request.
  • Jokes -The JokEc website is dedicated to jokes about the economy, would brighten up the interactive time-line experience. The website is a bit dated, as it was started in 1994. "On the One Hand" is a book full of jokes related to economists, written by economic futurist Jeff Thredgold, CSP.
  • Quotes about economics from wise people throughout the ages would add an interesting dimension to the time-line.

Jokes and quotes could be incorporated into the time-line as spoken word. Maybe famous actors could do the voice-overs!

There is a rap song about the Economist magazine, written by lyricist Ike Edgerton, a high school student. You can listen to a June 01, 2008 interview with Ike on NPR.

Economic data visualizations would be an asset to the timeline, especially if they were interactive and allowed people to play around with various scenarios. The Visualizing Economics website is devoted to representing economic variables from a historical perspective. Catherine Mulbrandon is the person behind this site.

Here is a quote from her website:

"I believe design can contribute to public debates by creating information-rich, easy-to-understand graphics revealing the meaning of data without hiding its complexity. While the Internet allows even greater access to economic data than ever before, much of it is hidden in databases, spreadsheets and academic papers. At the same time, the discussion of economics in the media can be confusing and contradictory. Often numbers are quoted out of context, while political agendas distort the presentation of economic data. The goal of this site is to help people who are interested in the subject of economics (but are not experts) to understand and participate in public discussions about economics through data visualizations.

Collaborative Interactive Economic Timeline

Several days ago I started pulling together resources and links about the current economic crisis (September 2008), looking at events in our recent history from the viewpoints of various disciplines. The result? A very long post in my Technology Supported Human-Interaction

It occurred to me that a dynamic, interactive time-line might be a good way of sorting out the complexity, a time-line that could offer people a chance to add their expertise, and also offer curious people the chance to look explore all of the dynamics from a broad perspective, and also in great detail.

This interactive time-line could also be a way of highlighting interesting examples of information and data visualization.

I will be breaking down the information contained in my long post, and segmenting them into shorter posts. The next step will be to create a wiki or a website that can handle collaborative time-line creation. I'm searching for good examples.