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More stories, less code

All of us are storytellers and technology are breaking down the barriers that prevent others from hearing our voices.

Looking for insights to help me balance working from home and enjoying my personal life, I recently began to gather data from my days and weeks in quarantine. I started creating visualizations of data and later uploading those visualizations to my social media sites. Among the visual exercises that are helping me make better time management decisions are maps of my house that give me a clearer understanding of the best space for the particular kind of work I might be doing (fig 1), radial line graphics comparing times during the day when I am actually hungry with times of the day when I am only obsessing about food, and contrasting working hours with time spent procrastinating. I’m doing this because it gives me a way to join in the raging global conversation of the moment. More than social distancing we are going through physical distancing and the available social media tools are ways in which we as people can continue with our instinctive natural impulse to tell stories in the midst of the crisis.

However, telling good stories these days goes well beyond following a natural instinct. In my case, seeing life as a set of data has allowed me to find my own voice at a time when I’m sharing the story of my confinement. Just like me, there are many people interested in using data in their storytelling though it is still not common to find storytellers versed in questioning, understanding, finding insights, and turning those insights into content for their stories. Paradoxically, the technology that has given access to some keeps many others out, those who still lack the technical knowledge or the budget to pay for the experts to extract value from their data. What happens to those people? Will telling stories with data or having access to better platforms to improve narratives continue to be the privilege of those with a great IT team at their disposal? Not if the #NoCode movement can help it. To create web and mobile applications without having to write a line of code is not new. Companies like Wix and Squarespace have been offering basic templates for people with no technical knowledge to do just that for quite some time. But now with the huge number of tools available that democratize technology by eliminating the barrier of code, this idea has become a movement.

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By Miguel Pirateque

Partner and VP, Datagran. Creative Strategist. Data Storyteller. Data Visualization Apprentice. Content Fanatic

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