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The Exceptional and the Everyday: 144 Hours in Kyiv

Co-authors: Mehrdad Yazdani, Alise Tifentale, Jay Chow.

The paper is part of an eponymous research project. Please visit its dedicated website.

The paper was presented at the Big Humanities Data workshop during the 2014 IEEE International Conference on Big Data, Washington DC.


How can we use computational analysis and visualization of content and interactions on social media network to write histories? Traditionally, historical timelines of social and political upheavals give us only distant views of the events, and singular interpretation of a person constructing the timeline. However, using social media as our source, we can potentially present many thousands of individual views of the events. We can also include representation of the everyday life next to the accounts of the exceptional events. This paper explores these ideas using a particular case study – images shared by people in Kyiv on Instagram during 2014 Ukranian Revolution. Using Instagram public API we collected 13208 geo-coded images shared by 6165 Instagram users in the central part of Kyiv during February 17-22, 2014. We used open source and our own custom software tools to analyze the images along with upload dates and times, geo locations, and tags, and visualize them in different ways.

Article  2014