A Day in the Life of nytimes.com
December 23, 2009 5:52 PM   Subscribe

A Day in the Life of nytimes.com Visualizations of traffic to the website of the New York Times on June 25, 2009, the day that Michael Jackson died, from the website's Research and Development team.
posted by ocherdraco (11 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Now, given the choice between reading the NYT and most other newspapers in the US, I'd generally go for the NYT, but, god, the high regard that that paper holds for itself can get tiresome. It's a newspaper with a vastly inflated ego.

The video is pretty.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:04 PM on December 23, 2009

Ego or not, that's an impressive way to visualize a readership. When you full-screen it in a dark room you really get the sense that you're looking at candle flames in your peripheral, or stars in the night sky.
posted by tybeet at 6:18 PM on December 23, 2009

The article says that "The top video represents readers coming to the Web site from the United States." This is misleading -- it actually includes Canadian traffic. That persistently large bubble of mobile traffic in what appears to be western NY is probably centered on Waterloo, Ontario, home of Research in Motion, makers of the Blackberry.
posted by mhum at 6:34 PM on December 23, 2009

It's kind of a weird visualization. NYC is this huge pale yellow bubble almost reaching to Maine, but because it's so pale, it really doesn't "count" as much as it should. The area actually needs the suburbs to show up bright on the map, because the bubbles are additive, which is counter-intuitive and perhaps quite wrong.
posted by smackfu at 6:43 PM on December 23, 2009

Damn. People in Toronto like their smartphones.
posted by rbellon at 7:20 PM on December 23, 2009


Should have read comments first.
posted by rbellon at 7:23 PM on December 23, 2009

Damn. People in Toronto like their smartphones.

We did, until RIM fucked with us again yesterday.
posted by gman at 7:31 PM on December 23, 2009

Conclusions: 1) People are interested in interesting stories. 2) Most of the traffic comes from large metro areas.

I'm not sure what else I can see from this dataset. Pretty, though, as Nick's stuff often is.
posted by zpousman at 8:17 PM on December 23, 2009

I was out in the desert, far from any big towns on the MJ death day, and we were trying to tune the 4WD radio to get a weather report. Suddenly, scratchy and fading was an urgent news report, which I had to listen to several times to even get the gist. MJ had died. Far out in the desert, distant from any town, not even within reasonable radio contact, we had got the news. But not the weather, alas. The radio faded out completely behind a mountain range after we had got the important news.
posted by telstar at 4:32 AM on December 24, 2009 [1 favorite]

The video makes me think of this visually evocative passage from William Gibson’s Neuromancer

Home was BAMA, the Sprawl, the Boston-Atlanta Metropolitan Axis.

Program a map to display frequency of data exchange, every thousand megab¡tes a single pixel on a very large screen. Manhattan and Atlanta burn solid white. Then they start to pulse, the rate of traffrc threatening to overload your simulation. Your map is about to go nova. Cool it down. Up your scale. Each pixel a million megabytes. At a hundred million megab¡es per second, you begin to make out certain blocks in midtown Manhattan, outlines of hundred-year-old industrial parks ringing the old core of Atlanta....
Who wouldn’t love off-the-shelf tools that could do this?

*Gibson, William. Neuromancer. New York: Ace Science Fiction Books, 1984: 43.
posted by mistersquid at 7:19 AM on December 24, 2009

I think each circle is centered on wherever your net connection originates from- I'm between Kansas City and Topeka and made out the tiny pulsing pixel of our local ISP- I'm on AT&T, though, so my traffic contributes to the paler, larger circle to the west.

Still, I like the layers of data contained in this. Is that Dallas and Seattle with the massive mobile readership?
posted by maus at 1:14 AM on December 25, 2009

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