As we all know, the world is obsessed with data. Each and every one of us can create, collect and consume information on just about anything. It is an exciting time to work in the field of data, and specifically data visualization.
However, I frequently notice that there is a lot of effort in our domain directed towards what I feel are questionable applications of data visualization, such as using complex data analysis tools and datasets to figure out which TV drama character is most popular on Twitter, or which sports players tend to use their left hand more than their right.
On the other hand, there are wonderful organizations out there doing noble things for the world – from planting trees, to battling hunger, to providing education to underprivileged children.
However, they often find themselves having to fight for people's attention, as it is difficult to explain complicated social issues in a fun and engaging way. They have data that their volunteers and their clients provide, but they struggle to use it in their online campaigns because of lack of funding and data analysis expertise.
Wouldn't it be great to put these two pieces of the puzzle together? To bridge this gap between the people who have the skills, and the social organizations that need them, I've started the 2017 Data For A Cause Challenge. The plan is to assemble a small crowd of talented data wranglers, and reach out to folk working in NGOs and non-profits, to offer our help.
Do you think you have the skills to create a visualization that inspires action? Are you a creative data visualization student in need of a portfolio to show to potential employers? Do you have time you could devote to the right cause? If so, you’re in the right place.
I'm hoping to roll out the first challenge in January 2017. If you are interested in getting involved, you can join here.
If you work for an organization that needs help with data visualization for your social media, website, newsletter, etc. please feel free to reach out to me.
Heck, if you just think it is a good idea and some of your friends might be interested in joining, please share it on Facebook or other social media.
Let's make 2017 meaningful!