March 15, 2011

Sexy Dirty Data: Involving your audience in your storytelling

I went to a fantastic panel today at SXSW in which Gaby Brink, Eric Doversberger and Ingrid Kopp discussed a new open source tool they have created called the IMPACT DASHBOARD.

Although not launched yet, the tool aims to allow anyone who wants to to monitor the outreach and effects of content they place online. The tool can track most of the stuff you’d want to (video platforms, facebook, twitter, and many more) but given its open source the community will be able to extend this as people work out exactly how they want to use this tool.

The concept of this is not wholly original, but the execution means it looks hopeful this is a major leap forward, especially for content creators and storytellers in general – for two reasons.

1: Ease of use. Its designed to be set up by anyone
2: Visual appeal. It has been designed to be easy to engage with by the non-technical.

It turns the outcome of things your content achieves online into something easy to engage with and active (you can link to direct action from the visualisations it delivers)

This is especially powerful for storytellers working in issues based or social change areas, where they can monitor (and show to their community and their funders) the results of their activity, and engage them with further action off the back of it.

Whether or not the tool lives up to its promises, it opened a whole can of interesting worms in my mind in showing how data around your action can be used very publicly to open, increase and deepen the conversation between storyteller and audience. It makes seeing what’s going on online because of things you’ve done, fun, shareable, and easy. And that’s a whole new layer of conversation right there.