I’ve been inspired by the Obama administration to start a new series of visualizations. It was this tweet that inspired me:
“See how well Mitt Romney’s promise to create jobs in Massachusetts worked out:”
First of all, that’s not a “see” sort of thing. It’s just a number on a background.
But second of all, it has become increasingly clear that the Obama administration doesn’t care too much about context in their use of data. They will use any data that is “technically true” to make their case.
I try to play nice in my infographics. I try to provide context and improve understanding. Because of this, there are several visualizations that I’ve abandoned because, although the visualization was compelling, it didn’t increase understanding of the reality surrounding the data.
So I’m going to start a series I’m calling the “Goose/Gander Visualization Series”. If I see something particularly egregious data or visualization usage, I’m going to create something that responds in kind. The difference is that I will call out what I think is wrong with my data.
If someone decides to try to correct me, I will point to original example, insist that they call that one out and then point out that I’m not only aware of the context, I’m giving it to anyone with the desire to find it.
I will only use accurate data, no fudging the stats. But I’ll use all the tricks that the original data used. It should be fun.