Satire in the Data Visualization Community

by Drew Skau 1 year ago Filed Under: Fun

We’ve seen our fair share of parody Twitter accounts — and had our fun reading their sarcastic take on the news, politics or celebrities.

Twitter Throwdown by Ernesto Oliviares takes a look at some of the most popular ones.

 

The problem is, many of those explode into the Twitterverse and sizzle out fairly quickly. @AngiesRightLeg had more than 30,000 followers at one point — it is now closed. It takes effort, time and dedication to maintain such an account. Even @PaulRyanGosling, run by five women, has not been updated since February.

It was through such a Twitter account and Facebook page that we found Eagerpies.com — a satirical take on one of the most commonly used data visualization tools, pie charts.

Its name was inspired by Robert Kosara’s blog and online identity, eagereyes. Robert had this to say about the new blog:

“I’m flattered that somebody went to all that trouble to make a spoof version of my website. It looks quite similar, and the logo is very cleverly based on mine (with some tastefully added pie charts). Whoever did this clearly has some design skills (or at least is good with photoshop).

It’s also a sign that the visualization community is crossing a threshold in size and importance. Between Fake Edward Tufte (who hasn’t been active in a while), Fake Stephen Few, and now Eager Pies, we’re getting to the spoof level of a respectable community.

I hope that these Twitter accounts and the eagerpies website will stay active beyond April 1. We can certainly use some lighthearted commentary between all the serious discussions.”

Obviously an April Fools’ Day joke, the blog made quite a splash in the data vis community:

In any community, satire is a healthy thing. It shows the ability to self criticize that, at the most basic level, helps to keep people responsible and honest. At a deeper level it stems from a background rooted in science. Testing and evaluating everything is healthy in the long term.

We, too, hope that all of these accounts continue to produce satirical content. They help lighten the mood and build the community, and they certainly help keep the business of visualizing data fun.

 
Drew Skau is Visualization Architect at Visual.ly and a PhD Computer Science Visualization student at UNCC with an undergraduate degree in Architecture. You can follow him on twitter @SeeingStructure