Metrics used to track tweets, Elven

[Above: A map of Tweets and Flickr uploads by Eric Fischer.]

It seems your ex isn’t the only one reading your public tweets. According to The Atlantic,

the CIA maintains a social-media tracking center operated out of an nondescript building in a Virginia industrial park. The intelligence analysts… are tasked with sifting through millions of tweets, Facebook messages, online chat logs, and other public data on the World Wide Web to glean insights into the collective moods of regions or groups abroad.

Metric data is a natural footprint of the internet. As games migrate online, they collect it too. What’s striking to me is how Uncle Sam is essentially taking a page out of the MMO playbook and applying it to the real world. In an interview with Gamasutra, Richard Garriot explained one way his team used metrics in Ultima Online.

We constantly used those metrics to redesign the game. For example… you could use a fishing pole… and there was a 50/50 chance you’d get a fish…. [S]o many people were doing it… we actually made the fishing simulation more improved, gave you different kinds of fish… and then it became even more popular.

Maybe the government is planning on giving us more fish!

Jason Johnson