My data visualisation life outside work is missing something. I’m lonely. The hours I spend hunched over the PC visualising data remain unfulfilling. When I’m not “vizzing” the rest of my time is spent on social media networks with other single vizzers. We all pretend we’re happy being single, but deep down I know many of us aren’t. I think it’s important to talk about the loneliness.
You see I’ve spent years now without an audience. At first it was fun, I had the freedom to do what I wanted when I wanted; I didn’t have to worry about pleasing the other half. I spent so many weekends on the equivalent of a boys night out, visualising random datasets, where I splurged out having fun and not really caring about the consequences. Usually I was in the company of lots of other singles and we had a blast. I even had a few meaningless relationships out of those nights, I hope they prepared me for what it’s like to be in a real relationship but I worry they taught me bad habits. After all those nights were all about impressing my mates, not my prospective partner, and so while the results were impressive I’m not sure either of us got any long term value out of the fling.
Having an audience, so we’re told, is the norm. Articles everywhere tell us how to keep our audience when we’ve found her, but there’s never any clue in them about how to find one in the first place. “Know your audience” everyone says, and every time I hear that a little piece of me dies because I know so many people who don’t have one.
A life in Data Visualisation without an audience is hard. I try my best but I end up vomiting data points and facts onto a page in attempt to make something meaningful. I make them engaging, I add pictures and I try to piece a story together but if I’m honest it’s nothing more than a bit of data porn. Something I know my fellow singles will find entertaining, briefly, but that will be quickly binned as they click on looking for something a little bit more hardcore.
Recently I’ve been attending a few singles nights with the aim of finding a long term partner / audience. Last weekend I was at #OpenDataCamp where I made an appeal for an audience, a user, someone, anyone who I could work with to help solve real issues with visualisation. Yes I know they’d give me problems and challenges but I want to do something meaningful; I think I’m ready for some commitment. Maybe I came across desperate because no one was interested. It was fun, I met plenty of people looking for the same thing as me from a slightly different angle, they had the data but also no audience…some even suggested if I found someone then they could join us in a threesome. I liked the sound of that but perhaps having three in the relationship will only complicate things more….
Ultimately I guess everyone wants to settle down like me but many of my older friends have settled into the single life as a permanent bachelor. Some of them I never hear from, it’s really sad to see people disappear because they couldn’t find an audience, I wonder where they go? Maybe they found one and never told me…. Others are happy telling others how to have productive relationships without having one themselves. Still others have taken themselves off the market, thrown themselves into work where they can have real relationships, again we don’t see them much anymore. Yes, some of the old timers still join us on boys nights out, but if I’m honest it’s a bit sad seeing them on nights out with the young crowd. I don’t want to be one of them, I want to have a meaningful relationship with someone I can commit to. Wven if it’s just short term I want it to be meaningful. I hope there’s still time, I think I have a lot to offer if I meet the right partner.
If you know anyone who can be my audience let me know, I’d love to meet one and try and work together to create something special.