Pretty regularly the topic of inclusivity and how to become a member of the (our) community comes up. It’s quite easy to dismiss it as a non-problem because if you read this, you are most likely part of the Tableau Community or part of the wider data viz community. However it took #TC18 and somebody asking me “How do I become part of the community?” to realise that, while it’s technically not difficult, it might not be obvious where to start! So this is my approach of making the community more connected!
I’ll organise a Tableau Community Twitter Chat!
You can find the times for the next event here:
|Auckland, NZ||Wed, 23th of January 2018||7:00 am|
|Sydney, AU||Wed, 23th of January 2018||5:00 am|
|Singapore, SG||Wed, 23th of January 2018||2:00 am|
|Berlin, DE||Tue, 22th of January 2018||7:00 pm (19:00)|
|London, UK||Tue, 22th of January 2018||6:00 pm (18:00)|
|Washington DC, US||Tue, 22th of January 2018||1:00 pm (13:00)|
|Los Angeles, US||Tue, 22th of January 2018||10:00 am|
WHO? Everybody with a Twitter account who would like get to know the wider dataviz community
WHAT? An hour long virtual get-together to talk about all things Visualisation and Community
QUESTIONS? Write to me here: www.twitter.com/genetis
NEED A REMINDER?
Click here for Google Calendar
While the only things you need to join “the community” is a Twitter account and an interest in data visualisation, figuring out where, who and when the community is, might not be obvious to new joiners.
Who should you follow? Who is part of the community? Who isn’t? Especially if you see people discussing a topic, as somebody new you might not just jump in between to contribute your two cents if the two people discussing have names that you see regularly popping up as authors of books, in training videos or as the people who write the blog posts which helped you getting started.
With Tableau specifically there is a bit of structure around it through Tableau Public, the forum and community challenges like #WorkoutWednesday and #MakeoverMonday (although more and more tool agnostic still very influenced by Tableau users). As soon as you would like to get in touch with the wider community though it gets a bit more difficult. There are very visible people out there like Giorgia Lupi, Alberto Cairo, Elijah Meeks and Lisa Charlotte Rost, but getting beyond those and finding other people is a bit more difficult.
And even if you find those people and follow them, it’s likely that you set yourself this imaginary barrier which prevents you to directly engage with them. You might think your opinion doesn’t matter or are afraid to say something stupid, or you have some other reason to not participate…
I would like to run this Twitter chat to create an opportunity for people to talk to each other casually, to learn that on the other site there is just another person trying to follow their passion and reduce the barrier to engage in a constructive discussion. The purpose is also to enable everybody to extend their network. To find people with interesting opinions which might align with your own or contradict them completely.
Think a social gathering somewhere, you might start small talk with somebody, you might passionately discuss a topic you care about, you might figure out that this person you just met, grew up in the same town as you or maybe you both listen to that same low-key free jazz saxophonist. The idea is to get to know each other and to make it easy to engage with each other without being afraid to talk out of place.
This is explicitly NOT meant as a Tableau only event! While I know that many of my contacts come from the Tableau world, I would hope that people with different kinds of backgrounds will participate.
It’s a test balloon! An online event for anybody to discuss visualisation, to make new connections without worrying whether your opinion is important enough to be voiced or whether or not you are overstepping the invisible boundaries you set yourself.
How does it work?
At the set time, I will start the Twitter chat with one or two questions. From there anything goes. You can answer the questions, react to others, discuss opinions or realise that somebody might have the same problem as you. We will most likely end up with different threads and different directions in these discussions. Depending on how it goes, I might follow up with other questions after some time, you can choose to answer those as well or maybe keep discussion another topic with somebody else.
After an hour I will officially close the Twitter chat but of course everybody is welcome to keep talking. If you think somebody made a good contribution, like their tweets and follow them. My hope is that once people where in touch with each other on eye level, there will be less of a barrier for future interaction.
If you have any ideas for discussion triggering questions, send them to me via Twitter or a comment below!
After the chat I will summarise the discussions in a follow up post. To make that easier, please make sure you use #datavizchat in your tweets!
What do I need?
Nothing but a Twitter account! You might want to familiarise yourself with Tweetdeck, which is an alternative interface for twitter which makes it way easier to follow different conversations at the same time. Just go to https://tweetdeck.twitter.com/ and log in with your twitter account. It is part of Twitter so you don’t sign up with a different platform or give away your password.
You will need to be online when the event is happening and you should follow the hashtag #datavizchat to make sure you can see the discussions going on.
When is it going to happen?
A few weeks ago I asked the community to tell me when they would be most likely to spend an hour with/for the community and the answer was pretty clear.
You prefer a time in the week, either during the day or in the evening. Considering the community is global, I will not be able to find a time which suits everybody but if the first one is successful, I will try to shift it around so that everybody gets to join an event. For the first edition I had to find a time which is manageable for me – living in New Zealand – and for North America, considering that a large part of the community is based in the US.
I decided to do it in the morning for me, which is in the evening for Europe and in the afternoon for the US. That should cover large parts of the community. If you have feedback for the time, either because I missed your timezone or because it would work better if it was generally done at a different time or a different day, please let me know.
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