The New York Times does a great job of creating small interactive features on their site. The New York City Murder Map may be the most provocative to date. Each blue dot on the map represents a murder. A slider allows you to change the timeframe to display murders by year or in the last 30 days.
What surprised me was how each dot is able to tell a tiny story just by the display of the weapon, motive and the gender, ethnicity and age of perpetrator and victim. The date and time as well as victim's name are occasionally included.)
If you live in New York, or are familiar with the city, and you see that a white 60 year old male killed a white 61 year old female with a knife at 11:15pm on a June night in Chelsea and your mind starts to take over from there and fill in a possible story.
Twitter updates work in the same way. A short statement from a friend can be enough of a hint that you know what is happening in their world, it pulls all of sorts of details forward from everything you already know about them. Both in a way work like the shower scene in Hitchcock's Psycho, you see the knife raise and blood splatter but most of gory details are filled in by your mind.
There are other example of interactive features I posted about in the past, including others from the NY Times under the "data visualization" and "information design" tags below.
Thanks for the link Kathleen