About Michelle Fitzgerald

Michelle Fitzgerald is iCharts' Director of Marketing. She has over ten years of experience in high-tech start-ups and Fortune 500 companies. Michelle’s past experience includes product marketing at Zinio, Yahoo!, Los Angeles Times and CareerBuilder.com. She is passionate about and inspired by freak economics, food, writing, travel, languages and architectural design that bridges people and cultures.

Elections Fever: Swing State Trends, Voter Turnout and Controversy

T-minus 21 days to Elections Day, November 6!
Will you vote? How will you vote?

Election fever is reaching a new pitch and, like many others, iCharts continues to track milestones and highlights by-the-numbers to document the course of this year’s political story. A few themes have become stand-outs as the world debates what will define results on November 6. Below are a few we’ve been tracking at iCharts.

Swing States Twitter Trends

There are seven states we’re capturing Twitter mentions for on a weekly basis with a little help from Peoplebrowsr’s API. Curious what last week looked like? Check out trends, by state, based on Twitter candidate mentions for week ending October 13.

New Hampshire

Voter Turnout 

For as much buzz as the Presidential Elections get every four years, only 64.1% turned out to the polls in 2008. It was seen at the biggest turnout since 1908, with a higher-than-norm appearance from the Democratic party and lag amongst Republicans.

In 2008, the boost for the Democratic party came largely from higher-than-average turnout rates amongst the Hispanic and African-American community. In 2012, it remains to be seen if this trend will carry forward as new voter registrations for these demographics and young people have been going down in recent years.

Controversial Topics

Over coming weeks you’ll continue to see iCharts publish data points about opinions on government control (see below chart), foreign policy, job creation and healthcare.

What topics are you most focused on to make your choice on November 6? We’d love to hear from you to spark new charting projects through November.

Elections and Technology: The Transformational Shifts of 2012

At iCharts, it’s fair to say we’re a little data obsessed. We’re particularly data obsessed as it relates to this year’s U.S. Presidential Election.

Why? Because we’re witnessing, first-hand, dramatic shifts in how voters and politicians interact with one another based on technological advances in recent years.  Entertaining or serious, it’s come a long way in four years and even farther in the last two hundred.

Campaign Tracking in the 1800s







Campaign Tracking in 2012







Mashable’s Politics Transformed
 has had some great observations about this shift, highlighting a wide array of factors, all fueled by technological advances, that are shifting political behavior.

Real-Time Communications Have Been Accelerated By…

  • Mobile platforms and increased use of such as primary or secondary news sources
  • Social networks (e.g. Twitter, Facebook) where over 30% of the world spends their time on a daily basis. An Experian-Hitwise chart on iCharts puts more emphasis on this, showing week-over-week how Social consistently leads the pack on where voters seek and share information about candidates.

We Have More Accessibility to (Decision-Driving) Data

  • InfoUSA, Acxiom, Votizen and more are defining how User Data is collected to improve voter targeting via email, social, display media and search channels.
  • Candidate Data is also more rapidly collected and shared, be it poll stats, funding-raising information, or an analysis of how xyz candidate is marketing themselves on the web.

Visual Social Marketing Is the New Form of Communication

  • We touched on this topic a few weeks ago, but worth noting again that visualization tools are changing the way we share information. The explosion of cloud-based interactive, design and data-rich visualizations are proof that how-we-consume-content has changed forever.  Marketers and political candidates alike must face the reality that technology has sped up the frequency and format in how we engage with news, creating an insatiable appetite for uber visual, bite-size news stories versus long-form, text-centric articles.

Which elements do you believe will define which candidate wins on Election Day? 

Trending Debate Topics and the Hispanic Vote

If you spent any time on social media Wednesday night, chances are you were just as bombarded with news on the presidential candidate debates as people watching them live on television from their homes, offices, or the many bars and restaurants who hosted viewing venues.

We organized data collected by PeopleBrowsr to see what debates-related stories people were tweeting about most, and the results display some major themes surrounding this year’s race to presidency.

As you can see, some of the more generic terms like #debate and #debate2012 were the most popularly used. However - other trending hashtags like #zing and #mittlies reveal the popular discussions that had everyone glued to this event. These highlights were collected over a 24 hour period before, during, and after the event to capture the excitement from every angle.

We can also tell that Twitter users were significantly more talkative about Romney than Obama during the Debate, which is an uptick from norm weekly Twitter mention trends showing Twitter users tend to converse more frequently about Obama. Nonetheless, it is impossible to tell whether these mentions were positive or negative, and so measuring each candidate’s popularity by sheer numbers would be a complicated and confusing task.

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It’s Beginning to Look Alot Like…Holiday Season!

Hard to believe we’re approaching that time of year when jack-o-lanterns haunt stoops, when kids ramble around in costumes, when fall dinner parties kick in and when xmas shopping begins.

But - it’s here! And with it, comes a series of fun facts and retail forecasts worth sharing.


Fun Facts via National Retail Federation

Retail % Increase in Spend Forecasts (Nov-Dec ’12)

“You have to be confident to spend, but because you’re confident doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll spend.” Dennis Jacobe, Chief Economist at Gallup Poll

  • 4.1% increase (NRF)
  • 3.3% increase (ShopperTrak)

To read the full AP release story, read more here.

The Rise of the Visual Social Media Era

An article today on Fast Company caught our eye. It could not have more eloquently positioned the rhyme and reason for iCharts’ role in the larger publishing industry. And the rapid shift to use of visualizations to create and share stories.

Simply put - consumers, the voice of the people - engage at a more rapid pace with visual content. We saw a similar shift when online video became a more accessible medium for publishers and everyday consumers. The same is now happening with photos, infographics and charts.

The fundamental value-add of including photos, videos or data-driven charts versus a long-form, text-only article hasn’t changed much over the years. These elements have, and always will, improve reader engagement.

But what has changed, and is visibly seen in research and consumer feedback, is that we - the people - are much more apt to discuss something with our social peers that is uber visual and in a format that’s easily distributed and consumed by a scanning, A.D.D. society.

A few snippets from the post for your reading pleasure:

“Pictures have…become a short form way of communicating lots of information quickly and succinctly….The need for publishers to get to the point quicker than ever came about as humans became more pressed for time and content became more infinite. For publishers, it was evolve or risk losing their audience, and the only thing shorter than a tweet or post is a picture.”

The “trend toward the visual is…influenced by the shifting habits of technology users. As more people engage with social media via smartphones…”

“A 2012 study by ROI Research found that when users engage with friends on social media sites, it’s the pictures they took that are enjoyed the most. Forty-four percent of respondents are more likely to engage with brands if they post pictures than any other media. Pictures have become one of our default modes of sorting and understanding the vast amounts of information we’re exposed to every day.”

How will you embrace this trend? 

Our Side of the Story: Jan 1 to Sept 21, 2021

It’s Friday, nearly 3p PST and most of the world is out enjoying their weekend. At iCharts, we’re not there yet… but will be soon!

But before we join the happy hour crowds, pick up our children from school, or figure out what’s for dinner….we want to share what’s been going on at iCharts in 2012, this week and earlier. Even we, in our busy lives can tend to forget how far we’ve come and what changes are happening behind the walls of Plug and Play SV, where we’re based, and around the globe at remote offices in Germany, India and Australia.

iCharts, as an organization, has always been moving and shaking after it’s initial launch at TechCrunch50 but spent most of the first few years securing clients and building a product that would scale to everyday charters. Mission accomplished! With clients such as CocaCola, IDC, YouGov, MarketWatch and more…iCharts was on the roadmap and geared up for a strong Series A funding found.

Then again in the last six months, iCharts has made significant leaps to push out into the larger data visualization space with an emphasis on enabling publishers - big or small - to tell their story more effectively with a cloud-based charting tool.

Since it’s almost year-end, we thought we’d give you a mini breakdown of 2012 so far.

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Now Live in Beta! Elections 2012 ChartChannel

Presidential Elections - what an exciting time in US history to engage in topics that impact our everyday lives, today and tomorrow. To express our personal passion for politics and to expose the data-centricity of the event, please welcome our newest ChartChannel section: Elections 2012.

Fun Facts About the Project

  • There will be Live! and adhoc interactive charts to rummage through at your leisure, close to 100 charts by time this section closes in November. 
  • Live! charts will be updated on a weekly basis to reflect ongoing US sentiment surrounding the Elections
  • Adhoc charts will pull from a wide array of trending stories and open data sources such as Real Clear Politics, Pew, and more. 

Sneak Peek Info

We have (3) formal data partners who are kicking this project off with us, each with very unique (data) perspectives on what-people-are-saying and how-voters-behave.

The first Live! charts to post are from Experian-Hitwise. In coming weeks you’ll see charts from our other partners, plus charts from partners we haven’t yet announced.

Want to become partner for the Elections 2012 ChartChannel? Please contact us.

Don’t Forget To…
Bookmark the event page, add to your RSS feed list, subscribe to receive ChartChannel email alerts. And of course, VOTE on November 6!

Sample Live! Chart

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Sample Adhoc Chart

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Introducing the (New) iCharts User Guide

You want to create a chart, now, right? You specifically want to create a chart on iCharts to include interactive features and embed on your blog, but how?

The newly refurbished iCharts User Guide walks you through the essentials to getting started. How to create, design and share your chart masterpieces with the world in the shortest amount of time possible, with fewer tools and without any coding or design expertise.

Take a whirl here:

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It’s New, and It’s Getting Big. Come Explore Inside the Olympics.

At iCharts we’re always itching to showcase what iCharts does for marketers, publishers, journalists and freelance bloggers. Not in a features and benefits way, or through a tutorial video, but in a way that shows iCharts in-action, such as Inside the Olympics, to expose the bigger challenge we’re aiming to solve: how to share valuable information and stories in bite-size formats that are data driven. We believe at iCharts, that we’re on the path to solving that.

How Does iCharts Work?

Subscribers, free or paid, can create charts by syncing data sources to a cloud-based platform that enables real-time publishing with or without design elements, plus interactive features for extended in-chart data mining. Users can choose to share their charting masterpieces on a website, blog, social networks, or privately with peers and colleagues via .PDF or .PNG files.

Why Inside the Olympics?

The Olympics is a monumental event with a wide array of commentary and data that highlights factoids from past and present. Many will create and explore Olympic articles, photos and video content surrounding the event. But no one, to-date, has journaled an event via charts to quickly expose trending topics, while also documenting past and current events. iCharts aims to fill that gap, while showcasing to others how they too can create short format content with rich data and information to be shared, tweeted, pinned, blogged, curated for digital magazines, or embedded on a website without the extended effort of writing a traditional article, press release or blog post. 

Because iCharts’ platform is flexible to absorb big or small datasets, it makes it easy to chart news as-it-happens or showcase statistics from prior events. Most charts for “Inside the Olympics” are static stories pulled from data partners like Experian and open data sources such as Guardian Data. But real-time charts can also be applied with or without content licensing such as medal counts.

The application of this project is scalable across a wide array of other journalistic and marketing oriented projects. As long as the user is prepared with data sources (or free form fast facts), images to complement the story, marketable copy for the chart title and description, it is entirely feasible to replicate the approach for Inside the Olympics.  It also should take no longer than an hour to produce a single chart from initial data upload to publish and share.

To follow Inside the Olympics or to learn more about iCharts, please visit http://www.icharts.net.

Inside the Olympics - Now Live!

Our special events ChartChannel Inside the Olympics is now live!

Did you know there are over 8,000 torchbearers during the relay?
That over 4 BILLION online viewers are expected to follow the Olympics?
Or that a women holds the fastest Olympic record in the 200M butterfly swim?

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