Arab unrest visualizations

23 Feb

In one of its previous issues, the Economist has published its own index of unrest probability in the Arab states, the shoe thrower’s index. I haven’t studied the index extensively, but its authors state that factors include “the share of the population that is under 25, the number of years the government has been in power, corruption and lack of democracy as measured by existing indices, GDP per person, censorship and the absolute number of people younger than 25”.

The index, published in the beginning of February, actually managed to predict the current events in Libya. It did not however list a high probability of public unrest in Bahrain – yet public unrest is exactly what we’re witnessing in Bahrain. Therefore some factors still seem to be missing. Nonetheless, visualization is a neat idea, and the Economist encouraged its readers to leave comments to improve and fine-tune. The index is now updated daily. Interestingly, Bahrain is now second on the list, topped only by Mauretania and followed by Saudi Arabia…

The Guardian provides an interactive map of the Middle East and North Africa keeping track of developments and color-coding the number of leaders ousted. It also has a second graphic illustrating Twitter activity within the region.

Kovas Boguta comes up with a very interesting graphic illustrating the cross connections of Twitter users documenting the Egyptian revolt. His graphic shows two things: On the one hand, he determines the communicational influence of individual Twitter users through the amount of times their tweets have been cited, or retweeted. On the other hand, he provides a beautiful depiction of the English-Arabic language barrier. Or rather the lack thereof, since Twitter users seemingly manage to create a cloud of information that downright floats from Arabic (red) to English (blue) and vice versa.

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