Portrait shows what Sheffield people are talking about

Brendan Dawes digital representation of online conversations and trending topics in the Steel City.
Brendan Dawes digital representation of online conversations and trending topics in the Steel City.
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FROM Jessica Ennis to the X Factor, the hot topics that get Sheffield talking online have been captured for a digital portrait of the city.

The image, created by digital artist Brendan Dawes, is a fascinating digital snapshot of life in Sheffield in 2012.

Commissioned by EE, to mark the arrival of 4G in the UK, Dawes captured the social media conversations and topics trending across the city during a three-day period .

This ran from October 29 to 31 – the day before, of and after 4G was introduced to Sheffield.

Brendan said: “People know the Yorkshire accent.

“Now, for the first time, we’ve discovered what it actually looks like.

“It is the people and the activities within it –- work, play and the connections within – that define a city.

“This design is formed from millions of bits of data, as people talk and interact about the biggest events of the day.

“We wanted to dig deeper into the topics that affect how people communicate in the city and what they talk about online.”

Conversations covered a wide range of topics within sport, politics, film, music and culture – but it was Sheffield golden girl Jessica Ennis who made the greatest impact, with the artwork heavily peppered with conversations about her during the period shown by the blue circles.

Each chosen topic and the hundreds of thousands of digital conversations associated with them are represented by a colour coded keyword.

From the keywords at the bottom of the artwork a series of lines flare out to form coloured interlinked circles.

The thickness of the lines and the size and brightness of the circles represent the popularity of each topic and the frequency at which people were speaking about them.

Other topics that proved popular with Sheffielders were the hurricane in New York, the Pride of Britain Awards, MPs, Strictly Come Dancing and - perhaps predictably - the weather.

The portrait is on display at Sheffield Town Hall.