We often are asked by clients for a simple methodology or template for building awesome data visualizations. Answering this question is a bit like trying to come up with a single process for creating a piece of art. So, in place of a formulaic approach, we offer here 10 guidelines to keep in mind when developing your data visualization.

1. Begin with a simple hypothesis

There’s no telling what new insights your data visualization effort will uncover until you get in there and start analyzing. But, what do you analyze when starting from the beginning? The simple answer: Anything. As long as you have a simple…


How Digital Public Affairs Campaigns Can Adapt to Facebook’s Future Business Model

Facebook’s current outsized impact on political advocacy is well known; the question is what will the intersection of politics and the technology giant look like in the future. I recently wrote about how underdog candidates are successfully leveraging Facebook to connect with voters.

And we know that presidential candidates, especially Donald Trump’s campaign, committed a significant portion of their digital ad budget on Facebook. This investment crosses party lines; according to Facebook General Counsel Colin Stretch, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump spent a combined $81 million on Facebook ads leading up to the November 2016 election.

But this may not…


I recently had the opportunity to travel to Ukraine and Egypt which was an eye-opening trip for many reasons. I visited Kiev, Ukraine — the site of the 2014 Ukrainian Revolution which resulted in the ousting of President Viktor Yanukovych and the overthrow of the Ukrainian Government. I also toured Cairo, Egypt — the site of the Egyptian Revolution of 2011 during the “Arab Spring” movements in which millions of protesters demanded the overthrow of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

My trip coincided with the protests taking place in France in which thousands of protesters continue to demonstrate against President Emmanuel…


Disconcerting as it was to hear that Dictionary.com recently declared “misinformation” as the 2018 word of the year I also see it as a learning opportunity. I started to think how my I can use my work in digital media to help reverse the increasing trend of false information being spread. In our high-tech world of 24–7 connectivity in which brands and issues are increasingly competing for attention it is critical to ensure transparency and build trust. …


There is a common thread emerging that explains the rise and often success of some underdog candidates: they have tapped into an emotional connection with voters and then communicated that passion and engaged with voters through engaging digital content.

Take Beto O’Rourke for example — the Democrat underdog in Texas who ran to unseat the incumbent Republican Senator Ted Cruz. While O’Rourke’s bid to turn a very red state blue was not successful in the end, he came very close. Senator Ted Cruz beat O’Rourke by a very slim margin (50.9% to 48.3%) …


People stand in the middle of the street to get a just-right, artistic photo to post to their Instagram accounts. Pedestrians risk their lives texting on, staring at, and talking on their smartphones as they cross streets. A few weeks ago, I saw a concerned police officer stop to give a middle-aged pedestrian a stern warning for dangerously stepping off the sidewalk into traffic while deeply engrossed in the world of her smartphone

Social media permeate our daily lives more than ever before. The Pew Research Center’s recently-released study, Social Media Use in 2018, reveals that Facebook and YouTube dominate…


Do it to win. Do it to communicate with your target audience via the most powerful technology available. Communication is a combination of art and science: it’s all about the story. The right digital media and a well-told story will capture your audience before they click away.

Digital media is both powerful and personal. It is as close as one’s phone: often in a pocket, a purse — or right in hand.

In the recent past, media buyers and organizations were doubtful that digital media could provide the impact that traditional media once did. But today, nearly every demographic has…


In business, gifts are an important part of building and affirming a wide range of relationships. We give a ton of gifts, for example:

  1. In recognition of a contractor’s performance
  2. To thank a friend for referring business
  3. To show appreciation to vendors

…and so on.

In my businesses, I’ve decided to only give gift cards as gifts. I have been confronted with the occasional observation from a third party claiming that a gift card lacks a certain warmth or thoughtfulness. I could not object more. (I have never heard any complaints from a gift card recipient, by the way).

Here…


20 minutes per day with three simple tools

Twitter is easily one of the best platforms for professionals to stay current on trends, connect with like-minds, and elevate their profile to a wider audience than just friends and family on Facebook.

But Twitter, with its 140 character limit, lack of intuitive features and heavy-user jargon, can be daunting at first for the busy, uninitiated professional. Fortunately, there are a few tools and techniques to take you from Jedi to Master in no time.

My basic formula for Twitter engagement involves three elements: Discovery + Sharing + Engagement. …


My wife and I were recently on a hike with friends when the conversation turned to negative political campaign ads. It was late September and the November campaigns were already gearing up their attacks on the opposition.

If you are watching television during this time, you can’t help but see these ads stacked one on top of the other. The only thing that makes this barrage bearable is the knowledge that it will end on the first Tuesday in November.

As someone who has worked in the political field for over a decade, I’ve become somewhat immune to, if not…

Bryan Merica

Exploring the intersection of technology and politics.

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