Game of Thrones, in Tableau’s Story Points

I know that Game of Thrones Season 4 ended quite a while ago, but I have presented this Story Points (dashboard? story?) a couple of times to different user groups and wanted to post it to my blog for others.

I collected tweets with #GameOfThrones, #GoT, and #GoT Season4 through ScraperWiki, which no longer offers this service, for several months in 2014. You’ll notice that the tweet volume is wildly inconsistent; this is both my fault and ScraperWiki’s. Twitter rate-limited their searches for some weeks, so I am missing a fair amount of tweets. (What better prompt for me to start using the Twitter API?)

Another reason I am missing tweets actually is something I admonish people about when I am training them in Tableau: case sensitivity! Turns out that hashtags are case-sensitive, too. While I searched for #GameOfThrones, I did not search for #Gameofthrones. (Tableau Public limits me to 1mm records, so it probably would not change much in this viz.) And in the Top 5 Hashtags list for each episode, I filtered out the hashtags for which I searched, because that would be redundant, and I normalized the tweets by using UPPER. (You should avoid showing members of a dimension in all upper-case in a visualization, if you can—it looks angry and makes people think that your MDM folks are lame.)

This data set is a good candidate for Story Points in Tableau because it is sequenced over time, and there are many opportunities to comment on the causation of the fluctuation in tweets. For instance, when Mark Gattis joined the cast as a very minor character, there was an unusual spike that had nothing to do with HBO, but rather with his popularity as Mycroft Holmes, on the BBC’s epic hit, “Sherlock”. (Maybe a good topic for using the Twitter API?)

There are some things I like about Story Points—it allows me to guide the user’s navigation very carefully, and it looks great. It does require analysts to think about what their audience really needs to take away from an analysis, which is part of the vocation of data analysis that often gets lost.

I don’t like the inability to modify the appearance of the Story Points controllers, and it doesn’t write changes back to the dashboard or visualization in use. I actually did not need to use it for this dashboard, because the horizontal bar of episode numbers serves as a filter, too. Building a dashboard also was more efficient for me, probably because I have done it so many times. I’m curious what you all think about Story Points.

I’m going to use the dashboard I built previously from this data set, and not Story Points, for my upcoming client demo. Story Points is good for presentations, but it’s not an enterprise analytics tool.

(I did redact some of the spoilers in this Story, for those of you who haven’t seen Season 4–like my husband, who has been ultra-helpful setting up this blog :))