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The Lure of Data

Maya Brahmam's picture

There is a new tool TCdata360 that brings together multiple sources of data in a user-friendly way. It is designed around data for trade and competitiveness and the private sector. It includes data from a number of sources too, such as the World Bank, OECD, UN, and the World Economic Forum. Most interesting of all, it’s visual. Visual data can be used to build stories.

An interesting story draws an audience online, but you have to tell it quickly, as the time frames for stories are getting progressively shorter. On Vine, a six second story feels like a moment repeating itself endlessly. Dom Hoffman, the app’s creator told the New Yorker, “It feels like a moment that’s happening over and over again,” Hofmann said, “I think when people remember things in the past, they view those things on repeat.”

The Tribeca Film Festival started six-second films a few years ago. At the SXSW Film Festival this month, Google’s creative director, Ben Jones spoke about this topic in a panel called, "From Six Words to Six Seconds: How the New Age of Storytelling and Innovation Intersect."  (Urban legend has it that Ernest Hemingway published one of these six-word stories, “For Sale: baby shoes. Never worn.”)

What can we take away from this? Good content is compelling, but users have shorter attention spans, and so in the words of Donna Wong, VP of Digital Strategy, Communications and Outreach, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, “Data is the new oil, plentiful and unrefined. It requires balancing the discipline of data analysis and succinct storytelling to visualize data and turn it into actionable insights.”

Actionable insights are key.


Photo by Devin G. Jones

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