This week the US had the second impeachment trial for the former president Trump. I watched the entire trial through the CSPAN, the network that primarily televises the proceeding of the US federal government, live stream on YouTube. Additionally, I had the Twitter live stream opened. As the trial proceeded, I often had questions or wanted to seek clarification/more information from points raised during the trial by the lawyers/impeachment managers or commentary through Twitter. I thought it would be interesting to map my path throughout the trial.
Rather than trying to document by hand all of my web activity, I relied on my browser history to record them. At the end of the day, I printed my browser history and I tried to label whether activity was done to answer a question, as reaction to Twitter commentary, or content algorithmically provided. This data resulted in the visualization below.
Visualization Design and Discussion
Each day of the trail, excluding Saturday, is represented by a purple circle which also represents the livestream of the trial and the Twitter live feed. Branching from the day are my web activities that result from watching the trial. They have been categorized as: YouTube videos, Tweets/Twitter accounts, printed news media (e.g. articles from NYT, CNN, and FiveThrityEight), video news media (e.g. clips from CNN and Fox), Google searches, and instant messages (e.g. Discord). In total, it forms a web for that day.
Some branches also include a square, a triangle, or dashed boxes; these represent notes for that branch of activity: question/personal inquiry (square), notification/algorithmically provided (triangle), or tangential queries not related to the trial (dashed boxes).
Looking over the week, I thought it was interesting that I did not perform any google searches on Thursday. However, after thinking about the timeline of the trial it makes some sense: Tuesday was focused on determining whether or not the US Senate had jurisdiction to hold the trial, Wednesday was the opening arguments for the impeachment managers, and Friday the former presidents council presented their defense. In each of these days, legal terms and precedent were introduced as well as the introduction of members of the defense and prosecution. On Thursday, the impeachment managers focused on video footage and summary of their case. Lost in this visualization is the context of the search and where I found the answer to my question. I felt that it was important to include the tangential queries as they represent learning that might not be considered as ‘focused’ or ‘on task’ by some.
Most of my activity seems to be from Twitter, again this makes some sense as I had the Twitter livestream commentary open the entire day. One side effect (or benefit) of the livestream is the automatic refresh of tweets and I did not count this refresh as activity. Twitter activity was defined as opening the tweet to view the comments or view the account that posted the tweet. I did not consider liking or following accounts as activity.