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.

Continue reading

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.

Charting Our Way Through the Olympics and Elections 2012

July 2012 brings us barbeques, ballgames and summer movies. But what are the most anticipated, historical events to chart? The Olympics and Elections 2012.

The Olympics: Told Like Never Before.
Ever follow the Olympics via charts? We certainly haven’t. But this year, you will. Stay tuned for great coverage spotlighting the “Road to the Olympics”, along with “Inside the Olympics” stats and news coverage throughout the event. Subscribe to London Olympics 2012 charts.


Elections 2012
Every four years, the journey to the White House calls on Amerians to weigh their political views. Healthcare, immigration, marriage rights, and job security are just one of many topics already playing a large role in guiding American sentiment. Watch for additional coverage - via charts - over coming months from data sources such as Reuters, Politico, Gallup and more. Subscribe to Elections 2012 charts.

Want to become a data partner to share your stories? Please contact us.

The Next Gen of Data Discovery, In-Chart

The (Data) Story Told by You. Interpreted by the World.

Charts used to lead us down a pathway to a single data story. But we are now in a time where we expect more from everything we consume. We want to customize. We want to discover. And not only in ways that define what we listen to or what we buy, but in how we also look at data. Data now needs to deliver dynamic ways of synthesizing information. iCharts frees data from singular points of view and empowers viewers to draw meaningful insights.

Take this standard chart below. At first glance you see that the tertiary programs most popularly undertaken across a majority of OECD countries are in the social sciences, business and law fields. But click on the colored circles in the legend to also compare and contrast fields across countries.

What else have you drawn about these education choices? What do you suspect is driving clear wins in specific countries? What does it imply about how the global economy exchanges goods and services today and in the future as students become full participants in their local economies?

Cannot retrieve chart

Cool, right? We’re only scratching the surface! What about being able to analyze across segments or drill down to more specific groups or circumstances?

PowerCharts are iCharts synced to survey data with filters that allow more complex and customized cuts within data. For example, how far can you dig into the Supermarket Impression Breakdown? Click on the yellow filters to slice and dice across age, gender, education, marital status, region and quarter. How do supermaket brands perform across demographics in preceding quarters?

Cannot retrieve chart

Share your data story. Let the world discover more within your data. Get started now with an iCharts free trial account.

Playing the Game: Data Collection, Visualization and Social Sharing

Big data, small data. It’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. And everyday iCharts wrestles through what the larger industry is facing – an identity crisis with data.

The most prolific challenges lie in…

  1. Data collection that delivers against specific business goals
  2. Data management to absorb old and new frontiers (e.g. Open Graph, Advertising Analytics) in a meaningful, action-oriented approach
  3. Data visualization (a.k.a. charts) and socializing at the speed of light to provide turnkey, shareable decision logic for larger business problems like how/when iterate a product and visual masterpieces for bloggers and stand-alone market researchers

At iCharts, we believe that solving these challenges start with a few key ingredients. (Note: iCharts is focused on #3)
Continue reading

The Ugly Duckling [Data] All Grown Up

The everyday consumer is no stranger to data.  You don’t even have to be a data scientist to be touched by it – every day, in virtually everything you do.  It haunts us everywhere – in stock tickers, ad campaign dashboards, political polls, March Madness statistics, office KPI reports, board meetings, and our personal finance alerts.

In recent months though, the subject of big data has become a larger one. It regularly frequents blogs ranging from Tim O’Reilly to Jeff Bullas to Giga.Om.  Some might even say it feels like the song and dance we’ve experienced with mobile technology over the last five years -  “this is the year for mobile” – only to see it ride steadily with no significant bursts in innovation or consumer adoption trends.

Well, honey, the duckling is a swan. Mobile is here. And data …well, it’s growing up.

First, data visualization is here to stay.

What used to be reserved for data junkies and designers, has gone mainstream. With plug-n-play, interactive charting tools for anyone with  a little access to data sets and a decent eye for copy and design…you can_have_charts. Lots of them. Just check out the number of charts  - info graphics, mini info graphics, data illustrations and standard charts – that float across the blogosphere and Pinterest.

Second, data just got way easier to crunch and share.

It’s not perfect yet, but it certainly has gotten easier. On iCharts, it’s only a 3-step process: Upload, Choose Template, Publish. And if you so choose, add a fourth by Sharing it with all your favorite people via blog, Facebook, Pinterest and more.

Third, interactive charts are expanding to enhance surveys.  

(Reader Beware: This one’s a teaser for what lies ahead.) But yes, if you regularly use survey data and even like to share results with friends, peers and colleagues, you will soon have accessible, time-effective tools at your disposable. Think Survey Monkey, on steroids. #awesome

Need a little more to chew on? Check out the iCharts User Guide or FAQs section to get you started with your next data – err, charting – creation.