Jan 31, 2013

Presenting Conference Monitor at Social Informatics 2012

This was the first annual social infomatics conference, and it was in DC. I was hoping that my paper will get accepted. I always hope the same for all my papers and all the conference, but this time I was very optimistic, I worked a lot on this. Finally I was very happy after getting the acceptance email and very positive reviews from the committee. My flight for Dhaka was just right after the last day of the conference, so I was preparing my talk at the same time I was preparing my self for my trip to home. I am glad that my colleagues at the HCIL helped me with the practice talk. This is a culture I highly value here, getting feedback from our peer before we actually give the talk at a conference.  After the practice talk, I changed my presentation a lot, and later made a demo video of the tool that I presented at the conference. It helped a lot to show the demo: it made clear what my research was and what the tool does. The conference did not have any separate demonstration session, so I showed the demo of conference Monitor during my talk. I was overloaded with coffee, it was right after the final exam of Information Visualization course, I was the TA of the course. After the final exam, I collected all the exam papers, took the metro to the conference venue and had one more hour before my talk. The talk went better than I expected, I received positive feedback on my research topic, other researchers showed interest on the tool and wanted to use it for their own research. And, above all, no one fell asleep during my talk, what more can you expect ?:) I demonstrated how Conference Monitor can be used to analyze and visualize tweets during an event in real time, and how it can identify the influential and active people in the back-channel communication during an event.

I could not attend the second day, I needed to grade the final exam paper, but at least I could attend the key note by Noshir Contractor. From the keynote speech and the three sessions I attended, I learned about new techniques and metric to analyze social network and people'e influence on a network. After I felt that even though many people are using visual analytics for network visualization, their analysis and presentation could be more understandable if they knew more about netviz nirvana, you can do a lot just by following some principles of removing node clutter and edge overlaps. You can use visualization to make your presentation look flashy and cool,  but that is not the visual analytics. You know how important your research is when you see how other people are not doing it right. And again, I felt as a visual analytic researcher how can we make people realize the importance of using visualization in the RIGHT way?