This weeks readings focus on the concept of visualizations and the way this type of publishing helps establish a more interactive way of portraying data. For my reflection I want to focus on the way some of the readings have successfully summarized vast amounts of data in to images, a form of publishing that is clearly easier to engage with. I found the reading titled “The Global Warming Skeptics versus the Scientific Consensus” extremely compelling because of the way it summarized a very controversial topic in to a series of headings that the reader could view easily (Anon., 2009). The fact that the visualization includes both sides of the debate adds to the engagement of the information as I found a lot of information I hadn’t come across before. Many people have very one sided, black or white opinions when it comes to the global warming debate. Personally, I have always believed that global warming is occurring due to man made reasons, high population density etc. However, when I came across this particular reading, I felt that the use of graphs and other images and the succinct way that the information was summarized made my opinions waver a bit. One might ask why would these images change an individual’s opinion on global warming. One clear cut example, comes from the graph under the debate of whether it was hotter during medieval times or during our current time period. The graph clearly shows higher temperatures during the medieval times, and the reader is naturally drawn towards this image (Anon., 2009). Visualizations help the reader condense information that is sometimes hard to grasp and retain, in to an image based form which is easier to understand. Increases in technology have led to an evolution in the way that information is now portrayed. Text based information seems to have taken the back seat when it comes to providing information to a mass audience. Visual publishing seems to be the driving force in the world of media today, just because of the fact that it can condense vast amounts of information in to a small and easily accessible package.
As i read through this reading I came across a term I wasn’t quite sure of. The ‘Hockey Stick’ was something that intrigued me in to doing a little more research and I came across a basic explanation. According to Al Gore in his journal, it shows the relationship between the temperature and the time period. He says that during the industrial revolution it hit a spike which seems to have started an upwards trend (Gore, 2008). However I came across another visualization that seems to have completely discredited Al Gore’s theory as it shows that we are actually in a period of global cooling (Anon., 2009). Tis visualization occurs on the following website: http://www.ihatethemedia.com/global-warming-hockey-stick-debunked.
From this weeks readings I can confidently state that visualizations are a form of publishing that seem to affect the reader more than any other form of publishing. The eye catching quality of image based publishing helps the reader grasp information in a shorter span of time. The visualization that I focused on was a clear cut example of this, as my opinions of global warming now sit on the fence, which is exactly what visualizations set out to do: to help shape people’s opinions on certain types of information.