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  • Michael Kilpatrick

    People LOVE data. Good data. It has to be truthful/accurate, relevant, serve a purpose, of interest (everyone has their own), understandable (visual usually trumps other formats), and MOST importantly it has to inspire. Without the above ingredients data is boring, damaging, misleading, and essentially useless. No matter who you are though, there is some "data" out there that you DO care about that DOES meet the above criteria. So, don't discount it entirely simply over volume. We are all different, we all have our own passions, interests, and things that inspire us, and that alone is always changing and evolving for each of us as we live and grow, so for this reason alone thank God there is SO much data to go around. Something for everybody. ;)

  • Cassie Langstraat

    I honestly don't know. I am leaning towards no. I wish I could answer otherwise but I mean think of HOW much data is thrown at Americans every day. Research studies, articles, journals, surveys, every day we get bombarded with numbers and it is just too much for people to handle. The wealth of data is overwhelming to people. There is SO much that they just throw their hands in the air and say I can't deal with any of it then. This is a huge reason why people are so apathetic to problems going on in our world, there are just so damn many that they feel like they can't fix them all so they choose to just bow out and focus on other things, probably themselves. This is not everyone of course but it is many.

    HOWEVER, while in debates with people who aren't hopelessly apathetic, numbers make ALL the difference and do inspire change, well at least change of thoughts maybe. People take numbers seriously. Although sometimes they are scams! So data is a hard one for me. Haha too many things to say about it.

    • N Beck

      Cassie! I think you've really hit the nail on the head when you mention how people get so overwhelmed by all of the data flying around. Furthermore, one set of data can totally conflict with another set, making figuring out what to believe that much more of a challenge. It's totally easy to get overwhelmed and become apathetic. Glad to see that there's someone else out there that's still trucking forward, even within the data deluge! Keep at it :).

      • Cassie Langstraat

        Yeah I mean it is really quite sad. I mean as an activist I am always trying to think of ways to really get through to people to try to make them realize things need to be done to make this world a better place for people.. But so many of them are just so damn apathetic and it makes me want to cry. I guess we just have to keep at it, like you said, but it can be so incredibly frustrating and hard sometimes.

        • Jelena Woehr

          I think engaging with the potential for human ingenuity to lead to solutions is one answer to that "I can't fix it all, so why even care?" apathy we see in people who aren't yet involved. When the scope of the problem seems so big it's impossible to solve, people tend to shut down. I read about a tool called Handprint recently that allows people to calculate both their carbon footprint and their "handprint," which is the carbon they SAVE by making energy-smart choices. When I tried it I was a little depressed to see how small my handprint was even though I try to live very consciously and sustainably, but it also motivated me to take some additional new steps. I think the role of data in activism can be to show people that they CAN make a difference.

          • Cassie Langstraat

            Yeah I think maybe the difference between what you are talking about, that app, and what I am thinking of is the aspect of something being personal. So like if someone hears that 1 out of 6 women get raped during their lifetime, that is just such a massive number and it is depressing and can make people feel like there is absolutely no hope in changing that sort of thing. But that is not a personal thing. There is no app that tells women how they can improve their chances of not getting raped, because, well, that isn't really possible.

            So I am not sure if my example is making sense. I guess what I am saying is, data on a personal level can definitely inspire change, like the app you mentioned. However, that is just not always applicable, it rarely is in fact.

            Environmental change is one of the few things that you can have an impact on by doing something by yourself. For most big issues, it is not that easy.

            • Jelena Woehr

              I love this conversation we're having. And I actually think there IS a way to track personal actions to reduce rape, but the target would need to be potential perpetrators, not potential victims. Is there a way, without making them feel attacked, to reach men who are in the position of both strongly opposing rape and being under-educated about what consent looks like (or doesn't look like) in the real world? Could it be wrapped into a platform like Tinder, to create an opportunity for education in a context that's historically rife with misbehavior? And could going through this consent education construct then reward people with a form of social capital that also lets women see which of their male friends and connections care enough about them to take time to learn what they can do to keep women safe?

              I think there's potential there...

              Of course, appx. 2% of humans are sociopaths, so there will always be people who genuinely really don't care. But for the other 98%, I think they can be reached.