Reading Response #6
“Wrong as it is, the map doesn’t fail to startle; the replies and retweets are filled with tweets shocked at the overall picture of violence. The problem is that once you get past the original shock of the image, there is nothing else to learn.”
What is the value of shock and where does the shock value end with other data visualizations?
The purpose of data visualizations seems to be to communicate sets of information in an easily understood, visual way. Yet, the author’s example of the Homicide Watch as the best example of the method described in What If the Data Visualization is Actually People? is confusing because he compares individual photos and narratives to deaths shown on a map, two methods with different motives. In using a map, the data visualization seems to stress the location and minor details of the homicides. Opposite the map method, the Homicide Watch site emphasizes personal narratives. Comparing the two methods does not make much sense, as the objectives of each seem to be completely different. For the author’s example of DC’s Homicide Watch website as an example of a technique described in What If the Data Visualization is Actually People?, is the method of communication still considered data visualization despite the lack of data communicated? Why did the author compare the map visualization to the website’s narrative style if their only commonalities are topic (homicides) and location (DC)?
“Still, we have guides to inform us when to use a bar chart vs. a scatter plot vs. a pie chart,” what are these guides?
Is there a better way to invoke empathy and tell personal stories within a larger narrative using data visualization (other than photos and narratives, a technique mentioned here but one that also doesn’t seem to display any “data” at all)?