A graphic recording with markers on white paper outlining digital security concerns

The Subtle Manipulation of Graphic Recording

A graphic recording with markers on white paper outlining digital security concernsThere has been a lot written about the advantages of having a Graphic Recorder at your meetings and presentations. The idea of “dual-code learning”, the ability for marginalized voices to be heard and witnessed, the creation of an artifact that lives on beyond the presentation…

For this particular session, though, I confess I overstepped the bounds of the normally “neutral” graphic recorder. I happened to know the presenter pretty well, and he’s a very knowledgeable person – so well-versed in his field of data forensics that he can sometimes go far beyond the simple topic at hand.

That topic was a version of the “crypto-party” movement, designed to help everyday folks become more secure in their digital lives. This particular class was for LGBTQ and other alternative communities (which is part of why sections have been mosaicked for privacy) but was not for a particularly tech-savvy crowd.

When I was preparing the poster, I made sure to prominently write “WHAT CAN I DO?” at the center of the poster. My hope was that as he glanced at it during his talk it would help anchor him into the actionable items that would relate to the audience.

And it worked. More than once, as he was about to go off on an interesting (but not audience-relevant) tangent, he would glance at it and say “So, back to what you can do…

While I feel a bit guilty about this subtle manipulation, I also am happy that it worked and his talk was well-received. Even better for me, we posted this in the hallways of the convention and I saw multiple people stopping, reading, and discussing it as the the days went on.

What do you think? Did I overstep my mandate? Or did I contribute to the talk in a positive way?

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