Life, Education and Information Overload

This week there were two readings for the final week of class. The first was “The Tigger Talk: On LIfe, the Process, and Everything” by Brad King: The Appalachian Geek. He starts by writing “grades don’t matter,” which honestly nearly made me fall out of my chair since my mom was a teacher and in our house, grades did matter.

Instead King says, it’s the process that matters because in failure we learn. He mentions that 10 years from now not many of us will remember our friends or what happened in each of our college classes. Instead, we will be working hard, staying in and being too tired to make those important decisions in life.

Let’s move on to talking about Eeyore. Yes, you know the type. That one person who is all about sadness and drama. King talks about who these people and why they became that way. Hopefully you don’t travel down the same road. King’s post reminds us that life isn’t about the big events, it is all about the small events. What’s more, we don’t have control over these events. Yet, we do have control over how we see and how we react to such events. This leads us to the idea that we all want to be Tigger. We want to think positively and move through life thinking about the process, instead of the grade.

The other article I read was “10 Questions for Journalists” by Matt Thompson. I’m going to cover just a couple of them since you really should click the link and read the article in its entirety.

#1 – Are we making our community feel better-informed or merely distracted?

Here Thompson discusses how the design and layout of a page are essential to whether the community will be distracted or if the page can work to inform. Deliberate choices are important.

#2 – How important is this for our community and why?

This brings up the important question of immediacy vs. importance. Here Thompson labels local traffic as cheap, or the one-night-stand traffic. He instead wants a relationship with his visitors; for his visitors to see the value.

#3 – Are we chasing the largest story, or just the latest story?

The larger story is more important and respond to actual events, instead of just time.



Data, Data, Data

No, I’m not talking about the kid from the movie “The Goonies.” I’m talking about data-driven journalism.

This week I read “Data-Driven Journalism Trends for 2014” on Digital Amy’s blog. She gives her top 5 trends for 2014 starting with sensor data. Sensor data comes from devices that contain sensors such as a running watch or your fridge. This is an upcoming trend because we expect to see sensors in more and more products. “All these devices contain tiny bits of data that in aggregate can be quite eye opening of bigger societal patterns and trends of what is happening in the world today,” the blogger writes. Often sensor data helps third party entities or manufactures to gain information about the consumer and it’s a guess as to what sensor data will be used for in 2014.

The second trend was a growing use of d3 for mapping. Mapping data continues to be a hot topic and with Data Drive Documents (d3), this looks to continue. She uses this awesome Wired article to explain how more people, especially journalists will use d3 in the future.

Trend three is all about libraries, which we know I love. Instead of physical libraries, these are data libraries and should be helpful to all of us. There is a growing number of data libraries, although that’s not terribly surprising as collections of media are becoming more popular. It’s much the same with digital storytelling, which you can read about on my What’s Your Story blog.

Trend four looks at JavaScript, HTML5 and jQuery. Now if you haven’t worked with these three before, you are in for an interesting year in 2014. As more developers and web gurus begin to use these three in combination, interactivity and intuitively are really going to see an increase on many websites. HTML5 already fascinates me with how it encompasses and alleviates issues from previous coding languages so I can’t wait to see what these three can do together.

The last trend deals with analysis and meaning of the data, which is fantastic because sometimes it seems like journalists are a bit scared of actually explaining those statistics they included. I definitely agree with Digital Amy that we want to see the beautiful infographic or display, but we also want to know the meaning behind what you’re showing us.

That was the only reading for this week so this was a short one. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter.