Traditionally, the perceived role of the written-word journalist is to depict an event, a place, or a scene, in eloquent prose. In most respects, this traditional perception still holds true, even in today’s multimedia-rich publishing climate.
There has, however, been one seismic change in the industry, which has completely altered how stories are written: data. Big data. Data so huge that it has only entered the mainstream in tandem with the recent advent of powerful home computers. Now, stories are told as much in numbers, averages and probabilities as they are in expressive paragraphs. But, bizarrely, the internet has yet to catch up; ever tried to include graphs or infographics in your blog? If you have, you’ll be well aware of the stilted nature of the task, and the unappealing bitmap-based finished product. In other words, it isn’t pretty.
That’s why I’m excited about the concept behind Silk, a new hosted CMS which has information, graphs and infographics at its heart. But is it the platform to start a data-driven trend in citizen web publishing?
Creating a structured database of content revolving around a particular topic solves only one half of the problem. Presenting it in a way that is clear, concise and attention grabbing is equally critical. Otherwise, all the hard work that went into research will become meaningless — or unnoticed, at best.
One shouldn’t spend the same amount of time presenting the content as they did with their research. There needs to be a better way other than using a good old web page. That’s where Silk comes in, as a place to help you turn your data into presentations. A Silk site lets you add structure to your information and gives you many ways to filter and visualize your content in quite an impressive way.