Growing up in Canada, we traded hockey cards as kids (that’s ice hockey for the Brits!). Small rectangular pieces of cardboard with the player on one side, statistics on the other. There were select players from all the teams. And there was a checklist to know the contents of the ‘series’ for that year. Two player cards were general traded for a goalie.
I don’t know if it is true or not, but it always felt some players were printed more frequently than others. This created scarcity. And of course, you wanted the cards from the teams you supported. We attached value to the cards based on our affinity with the player, perception of scarcity, and perception of how good the player was. The cards you wanted to keep were often treasured, viewed with flashlights under the covers. We felt like we knew the players, like they were friends.
Some days I wonder if our discussions about data sharing would be different if we put faces and stories to the data. Would we treat the data differently? Would we share it more easily and quicker? Or would we pause more often? Would we treat some people’s data differently than others because how the person looked or their story?
When we talk about data it is easy to forget the data is often about people. Certainly in the humanitarian space this is true. So if we could ‘see’ the person or if was our friend, our child, would we treat it, share it, use it differently? And if the answer is yes, perhaps we also need to ask why. And perhaps too we need to ask ourselves if we should change.
The choice is up to us.