Storytelling with data visualization is still very much in its “Wild West” phase, with journalism outlets blazing new paths in exploring the burgeoning craft of integrating the testimony of data together with compelling narrative.
This article is a little heady but fascinating. I love eavesdropping in on other fields to see the effects storytelling is having, and to understand how we are grappling with similar issues. And to understand what their contributions might be!
This is a perfect example. Data visualization or data storytelling or data narratives is a hot topic today. The internet is littered with smart, funny, interesting, or very dense infographics that we pass around like hot cakes.
For many years data-visualization has focused on how to take data and visually display it so it is easily understandable. Lately they want the data to tell a story, but haven't yet explored adding story structure and story elements into their end products very much. And they interchange the words narrative and storytelling a lot thinking they mean the same thing (not all narratives are stories: think Wikipedia entry).
Nevertheless, their efforts are admirable and I enjoy keeping tabs on this field. And what I like about this article is that it is beginning to ask two critical questions -- what effects do our data visualizations have on our audiences; and how do we measure that?
So the author, Nick Diakopoulos, identifies elements that story conveys that we are very familiar with: learning, memorability, insights, engagement, sharing, conversation, credibility, persuasiveness, emotional responses, etc. The author forgot 'taking action' :)
Fascinating! I love this because as people in the field of data visualization entertain these questions, how they organize and display their material is going to change and become more 'storied'.
Why else is this article important? Well, because I bet folks creating infographics can learn a lot from us biz storytellers. And likewise, I think that these brilliant data folks will come up with nifty techology solutions about audience reactions that business storytellers will be able to benefit from. And that's just my first guess.
Dealing with data runs along a spectrum -- from business people and storytellers wanting to know how to weave data into their stories to data geeks wanting to know how to display their numbers in ways that tell a story.
Through conversations and sharing between our fields, we can learn a lot from each other and be better for it. Here's to collaboration and cross-pollination!
This review was written by Karen Dietz for her curated content on business storytelling atwww.scoop.it/t/just-story-it