LinkedIn is “buzzing” with activity – Visualize it now with LinkedIn Swarm

January 25, 2011

Other than being one of my favorite days, LinkedIn Hackday (part of our “inDay” program) is one day set aside each month where employees step away from their every day job functions to give back to the community, create new rapid prototypes, solve business problems, express ideas and be creative while learning and “bending” new technologies. Hackday isn’t just limited to technically minded people or engineers. In fact, all employees have the opportunity to join a team and collaborate on amazing new ideas.

People use LinkedIn daily for their professional success.  Finding a job, sharing professional content, gathering professional insights using Signal, connecting with like-minded business colleagues while creating a rich professional network are just a few examples of how people use LinkedIn to be more productive and successful.  In most cases, this entire process starts with a simple “search”.

I love data and LinkedIn has one of the richest datasets that I have ever had the opportunity to access. But with such a large dataset, sometimes the biggest question to ask is:  How can we visually depict this massive amount of  “human data” generated by over 85 million professionals?

This sounded like a problem worthy of a Hackday solution.  One traditional method for displaying popular keyword phrases on the web is using a “tag cloud”.  Sure, a tag cloud is visually stunning, but I thought we could make something a bit more organic, fun and interactive than a static set of links.  Enter LinkedIn Swarm.

An example screen from LinkedIn Swarm showing the last hour's most searched companies from executives in the computer software industry

LinkedIn Swarm visualizes LinkedIn’s most recent company and titles searches, jobs posted, blog entries and shared articles as a moving “tag cloud”, or rather a “tag swarm” and it cycles through a variety of topics automatically.

For all the techno-geeks out there, LinkedIn Swarm was developed using Javascript and one of my favorite web development libraries, jQuery.  It’s driven behind the scenes by millions of records of LinkedIn data sourced and processed through our data warehouse and a mysql database. Steve Pecko, one of the many amazing User Experience and Design team members, designed the presentation layer.

Find out what’s buzzing on LinkedIn today by visiting LinkedIn Swarm.