A Bigger Whiteboard

As mentioned in the Reboot post, it quickly became clear that our efforts to map the history of culture, starting with music, could not be sufficiently represented in two-dimensional physical space, nor would a whiteboard allow us to leverage the wisdom of the community to make additions, fill blind spots, and treat this as a living document. Friends-of-the-site Michael and Amanda suggested we look into LucidChart, and, as collaborative charting software goes, it’s pretty dope.1 Above is a first draft of the music influence chart (Genre lens), which is a confluence of School of Rock, John Lee Hooker, Wikipedia, our friends, and ourselves. It addresses some of the issues identified in the previous post, tries to plot influence over a consistent structured timeline, and adds underrepresented genres like Calypso, Swing, and Hair Bands. Still, it is not nearly done.

One annoying thing is that I cannot embed the interactive version of the chart in WordPress (for totally legitimate security reasons), and so you’ll have to click the chart above to zoom in, or link here to really interact (new tab). Removing the two-dimensional constraint allows us to represent artists on a separate layer. So, if you click on the Country bubble (on desktop), you get this:

It’s a bit messy, but it suggests that once genres are established, they keep going, they evolve with the artists attributed to them, and can either strengthen or fade over time.

It’s fun to poke around this chart but it’s even more fun to add to it. If you want to fidget, please email us: influenced.it *at* gmail.com.

This brings me to an important, probably-obvious point about the project. Meagan and I cannot do this by ourselves. We need a vast community of friends, family and perfect strangers to contribute influence connections, context, references and ideas. We need help building algorithms and web scrapers and all manor of sketch, argument and widget. We need perspectives from different cultures, geographies, upbringings, and experiences. And we absolutely cannot pay anyone a dime for this help 🙂

In the 48 hours since our first big post, there has been an inspiring outpouring of support. We thank you for the positive vibes, and promise to feed positive vibes back to you in the form of progress on this project. Stay tuned.

(Perennial request to 1.) share this post and site with anybody you think would be interested, and 2.) follow us on fb, tw, ig, and 3.) vote.)

1I am not getting paid for this. But I’m open to it, LucidChart.

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