How To Make Data Tell The Story You Want To Tell

There are those who use data to figure out the truth.

And there are those who use data to tell stories they want to tell.

These two objectives are very different.

And whether you’re interested in using data to figure out the truth–or in using it to tell a particular story–you should be aware of how easily data can be manipulated.

Estelle Metayer of Competia tweeted this great screenshot from a presentation at the World Economic Forum.

The presentation is by John Maeda, the president of design school RISD (Rhode Island School of Design).

The screen shot shows clearly how the same data can be presented to tell two completely different stories–in this case just by changing the scale.

On the left: Government spending is going through the roof!

On the right: Government spending is stable.

John Maeda

Photo: Estelle Metayer

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