Visualisation Reflections: #2 Independent content curator
This is a follow-up post to my second article in the Visualisation Insights series which I published early this week. The purpose of this companion series is to optimise the learning opportunities from each insights article, reflecting on the ideas, issues and observations to emerge.
Why did I choose this subject?
As I mentioned in the main article, I first came across Tiago’s site in June when I was looking around the web for examples of world cup visualisations and found that he had compiled his own great collection for InspiredMag. I subscribed to his Visual Loop RSS Feed and from that point on I have been feasting on a fullsome diet of infographic and visualisation examples from around the world.
My interest in inviting Tiago to take part in this article was based on my great appreciation of the role he is playing in sourcing, collecting and sharing these examples from all corners of the world. In the space of a few months, he has found and published nearly 4,500 graphics which gives him a unique perspective on the visualisation and infographic field. I also feel a sense of connection in the progress of Visual Loop given that I launched Visualising Data around the same time.
Impressions prior to the interview?
I see the visualisation field, as with any subject or discipline, as an organic system comprised of many different members, roles, energies and influencing forces. For this system to operate most effectively it requires a broad balance of different perspectives and functions which help to simultaneously navigate and fuel the subject’s evolution.
As a Content Curator, Tiago takes on a particularly important role by gathering and sharing with the rest of us the work that is taking place within and around this field. In many ways he takes on the capacity of a connector – a role identified and described in Malcolm Gladwell’s Tipping Point:
Connectors are the people who link us up with the world, … the kinds of people who know everyone and possess special gifts for bringing the world together. They are “a handful of people with a truly extraordinary knack, … for making friends and acquaintances. Gladwell attributes the social success of connectors to “their ability to span many different worlds as a function of something intrinsic to their personality, some combination of curiosity, self-confidence, sociability, and energy.”
He’s not there to filter, critique, judge or progress the field from a theoretical perspective – rather, his diligent discovery work supports the rest of us in the field. Completing the Tipping Point list of roles, some of us take on the alternative duties of mavens (“trusted experts and information specialists in a particular field, who accumulate and pass on knowledge”) and salesmen (“the select group of people with the skills to persuade us when we are unconvinced of what we are hearing”) to keep the subject moving forward.
Impressions after the interview?
The most striking aspect of Tiago’s interview is the refreshingly neutral standpoint which gives him a particularly non-cynical, positive and energetic perspective. His career experiences have heightened his awareness of the influence effective communication of information can have and it is great to see somebody arrive in this field from such a background. His opinions are therefore very interesting and valuable particularly as he is not affected by the Curse of Knowledge many of us can be influenced by.
As defined on the Visual Loop site, the stream of visual graphics supplied are not meant to be a showcase of best practice, they contain both good and bad demonstrations of the craft. As I said in my introduction to the main article exposure to bad practice is as helpful as seeing good practice, it helps to enhance your understanding of ideal design principles. I have certainly taken a great deal of value from this provision of the good and the bad.
Once again many thanks to Tiago for breaking off from his relentless Visual Loop stream and participating in this article, which, like the Michael Deal interview, has been a very popular post – hello to the many new readers from South America particularly! I know Tiago has great ambitions with Visual Loop and I wish him all the best in his pursuit.
Keep your eye out for future insights articles, with many interesting interviews and interviewees lined up…