The Soul of Data

The Soul of Data

Brene Brown said it, “Maybe stories are just data with a soul.”  Well, the more I think about it the more I agree with this sentiment.

Data is neither good or bad, happy or sad, peaceful or mad.  Data is merely a factual presentation of life in front of us.  It is our perception, fueled by a world view, that drives our feelings about data.  And the story we write about the data is based on our perception.

But people tell stories before they tell data.  Rarely, and in a way that is not considered a “social norm,” people do not just recite data around a coffee shop table.  Instead, they tell a story with their words, their tone, their face, their body position…a story that is communicating data in a very real and honest way.

Data can change lives when wrapped in a “why” and that why is transferred in a story.  That is what makes news articles so powerful and the consideration of “Fake News” so nerve wrecking.  What if the story we just read is based on fake data…and that fake data gave us an emotional response?

Let’s start by considering how we accept data through stories.  Are we looking only for the data that aligns with our current view or perception of reality?  Or are we looking past the story and considering the soul of the data which is transferred through the story?  Remember how, just 2 paragraphs before, I said that the story communicates data in a very real and honest way?  I still think so, but it is not the data of the story, the data being communicated IS the story and it is data of the sender.  And that is the data that truly matters when considering a proper response to the story at hand.

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