While participating in social media, we are aware of the closest or loudest users, and are tuned to the ebb and flow of information trends but don't quite have a visual understanding of the global network or local clusters around us. Ekisto is meant as a discovery and exploration tool.
Unlike real life human settlements where the layout is rigid and governed by geography and urbanistics, the layout logic of the online habitat is algorithmic and thus infinitely mutable.
One such instantiation is generated by a graph layout algorithm which arranges users in 2D space based on their similarity. Similarity is computed based on the users' network (FriendFeed), collaborate, watch, fork and follow relationships (Github), or based on the tags of posts contributed by users (StackOverflow). The height of each user represents the normalized value of the user's Pagerank (GitHub, FriendFeed) or their reputation points (StackOverflow), a measure of their importance in the community. The gravitational pull of hubs, those well-connected influential users, delineates the neighborhoods of the online habitat.