We all see the world through a particular lens. We filter out things we don't feel are relevant, or that don't fit with our world view.

What if you could view an event through someone else's lens? What if you could see an event like SXSW through the eyes of a Guardian journalist, or one of the performing artists, or the event organiser?

By: @daveaddey ; @alysonf ; @btpickering

Ideas for taking this project forward

We started from scratch on Saturday morning, and actually got much more built by 2pm on Sunday than we'd expected. However, there's a lot more we'd do if we had time.

We'd like to make it easy to apply EventLens to any event. Imagine seeing the recent student protests through the lens of the NUS president, or Richard Littlejohn, or Jody Mcintyre. We think it would best used to show an event from very differerent viewpoints - something we'd like to try out on some real events if we can.

If we'd had more than a weekend, we would have also read from the lens's Flickr stream, blog RSS feed, and so on. We would like to have deduced event relevance with more factors, such as a combination of location and time.

Estimated costs for taking this project forward

About the data used for this project

We started with Jemima's Twitter stream, as the curated list of everything she chooses to share with the world. We also grabbed the Twitter streams of everyone Jemima follows, as they are implicitly interesting in her eyes by virtue of the fact that she has chosen to follow them.

We then removed all of the noise from the streams, by focussing on messages, photos, articles and audio that specifically relate to the event. This was based on tweets either featuring or in reply to the event's Twitter hashtag (#gsxsw).

Once we'd applied this filter, we weighted all of the messages based on how interesting they were. This is a combination of the number of retweets they've had, and whether they contained additional media. This weighting is used to influence how much space they are given in the EventLens grid layout.

We presented all of these weighted messages into a loose timeline, with time references to give a picture how the event unfolded. Images, articles and Audioboo messages were included inline as special message types.

We'd hoped to use Twitter Site Streams to make this a live feed, but sadly the Guardian's IP block was being rate limited by Twitter due to too many hacks. So we implemented plan B, involving some good old-fashioned scraping and processing of user timelines. (This is why Jemima's EventLens only runs as far as Sunday morning, when the most recent scrape took place).

Project URL:


Created at

Rewired State and the Guardian SXSW Hack Day

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