I was listening to an episode of What’s The Point?, a podcast about data from FiveThirtyEight, and getting excited. Giorgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec were on the show talking about DearData, their yearlong exploration of data visualization through personal correspondence. For fifty-two weeks, the pair of data visualization experts sent postcards to each other, but these were not your average Hallmark cards. Every postcard was a hand-made figure concerning something they tracked in their lives for that week. Themes ranged from clocks to swearing to privacy and the resulting postcards embodied their personal style of telling stories with data. I loved listening to their project and was intrigued when the podcast ended with a challenge: try it for yourself, dear listener. The podcast asked its audience to have a go and make their own postcard with the theme of 'podcasts' and send it in. I had been interested in data visualization for some time and here was a great excuse to play around with data and inject some creative flair. So I gave it a try.
I decided to track WHEN and HOW I listened to podcasts. I recorded the time of day, my listening position (standing, sitting, etc.), and whether I used speakers or headphones. After a week, I had a collection of data points that described my week in podcasts. I made a simple grid and used a light table to fill in the correct cells. The result was an eye-catching postcard that has a lot of hidden data if you look closely.
It was a lot of fun tracking my behavior and making the postcard. I encourage you to check out DearData. Also, if you have the desire to track things but aren’t sure how to keep it organized, check out Feltron's apps, Daytum and Reporter, which make it easy to record anything you want to track. Have fun!
FiveThirtyEight has posted the collection of postcards they received, totaling seventy-seven. I was excited to see my entry was among their five favorites. I encourage you to explore them all. It’s incredible to see what people can do with data when you let them loose.
Hand-Drawn Data Visualization of Podcast Listening