Visualizing Social Opinion
The U.S. Department of State and UC Berkeley's Center for New Media are working together to explore new technologies that can solicit insightful ideas on U.S. foreign policy.

Participatory culture thrives on the sharing of diverse opinions among large populations. However:

  1. The amount of data can be overwhelming. News and blog sites often generate hundreds or thousands of comments.
  2. Websites often attract people with like-minded viewpoints, which can reinforce biases and produce "cyberpolarization."
  3. Thoughtful moderates are often shouted down by extremists.

Opinion Space 2.0 uses new data-visualization models and statistical analysis to address these problems. Every participant represents a "point of view" on a visual opinion map. This map is not based on geography or predetermined categories, but on similarity of opinion; those who agree on basic issues are neighbors, and those who are far apart have agreed to disagree. The map is designed to 'depolarize' discussions by including all participants on a level playing field. You can instantly see where you stand in relation to other participants, and, by reviewing their comments, you help the community highlight the most insightful ideas. Opinion Space is a general tool that could potentially be used to collect and visualize user opinions on topics ranging from politics to parenting, from art to zoology.

10/16/2010 4:00:00 PM to 10/16/2010 5:15:00 PM
Siebel Center: 1404
Limited attendance?

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