Treemap View of 2004 Usenet Returnees

Sociologist Marc Smith and computer scientist Danyel Fisher created this visualization portraying the activity of 189,144 newsgroups with 257,442,374 postings in 2004. It uses the treemap layout originally introduced by Ben Shneiderman at the University of Maryland. Each newsgroup is represented by a square. The size of each square corresponds to the number of people who posted at least twice. Color-coding is used to show the increase or decrease in the number of posters compared to the 2003 data: red indicates fewer; green denotes more. Each square is labeled as a literal hierarchy—e.g., ‘rec.pets’ contains ‘rec.pets.cats.’ The growth of certain newsgroups, such as ‘alt.binaries’ (at the bottom left), and the decline of the ‘comp’ groups (in the middle right) can be seen at a glance.

Fiore, Andrew, and Marc A. Smith. 2001. “Tree Map Visualizations of Newsgroups.” Technical Report MSR-TR-2001-94, October 4. Microsoft Corporation Research Group. Accessed August 15, 2009.

Smith, Marc A.,and Danyel Fisher. 2004. Treemap View of 2004 Usenet Returnees. Accessed August 15, 2009. Courtesy of Community Technologies Group, Microsoft Research. In “1st Iteration (2005): The Power of Maps,” Places & Spaces: Mapping Science, edited by Katy Börner and
Deborah MacPherson.