Meet Sparkwise: A New Tool for Measuring Media Impact

[Source: Sparkwise, April 2, 2012]

The core of BAVC’s mission is about stories. We know stories – and the understanding and social actions that result from the sharing of them – change the world around us. We’ve sat in dark theaters with hundreds of others as documentary films became recognized for the mainstream art form that they are, we’ve shed a tear over the latest viral video and watched the global fallout from it, we’ve tried to make sense of the Facebook page popularity contests and interwoven Twitter threads, and we’ve witnessed revolutions around the world bolstered by interconnected stories and global visibility.

But as a storyteller, how do you define your goals for your work, and how do you know if you’ve achieved them? Ten years ago, we usually answered these questions in terms of views – how many screenings, festivals, audience members, or DVD sales did my film have? In our increasingly connected world, what do all these clicks, likes, and tweets really mean? How do we not only track our projects, but understand them and use them to make better decisions, and more engaging media as a result? There is now a new resource in our toolkit that can provide better answers to these questions.

A year and a half ago BAVC, in partnership with design firm Tomorrow Partners, launched the early development of an impact dashboard tool to help storytellers aggregate and track their social media metrics, provoke their online audiences to take action on their content, and monitor trends in the social media sphere related to their media and the issues they care about.

After a year of further research and development, and an enlightening Alpha Test phase with numerous industry partners, Tomorrow is now launching Sparkwise, a narrative data communication platform that collects and compares all kinds of metrics in all kinds of ways–and combines those raw numbers with video, audio, text feeds and PDFs to create a moving story. Sparkwise is free, cloud-based and open source.

So jump on in, sign up for an account, start building your own dashboard, and let us know what you think.

Jen Gilomen
Director of Independent Media

BAVC is especially grateful to the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Wyncote Foundation, and The Fledgling Fund for their early funding of the Impact Dashboard project at BAVC, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for their partnership with Tomorrow Partners in the Sparkwise research and alpha test phases.