I’m the type of person who likes my humor visually displayed for optimum enjoyment. I am more inclined to laugh at funny images on Tumblr than witty tweets on twitter. Not sure what all that says about me, but it may explain why I love charts so darn much.
At first I thought I was the only iconophile with a love of all things charts, until I saw an episode of How I Met Your Mother where one of the main characters becomes s0 obsessed with them that his friends hold an intervention. For a brief fleeting moment, I felt I had a companion in my peculiar proclivity towards graphic representations of data, but alas, a sitcom is only so long and within the half hour I was alone once more… until one day on Tumblr. As I scrolled through my dash, I came across a post someone shared from a blog called I Love Charts.
I Love Charts is an awesome Tumblr blog where you can find every type of chart you could ever want: charts to make you laugh, charts to make you cry, charts that teach you things, charts that make you feel slightly dumber after viewing them, but still make you laugh, and the list goes on. Chase Crawford has been quoted as saying he likes to waste time there and I’m sure he’s not the only one. The blogs founder, Jason Oberholtzer was kind enough to tell us a little about himself, the blog, and the I love charts book.
On to the interview!
The Daily Quirk: Can you tell our readers a little about yourself?
Jason Oberholtzer: I am a writer, blogger, composer and musician living in Brooklyn. I want Lauryn Hill to come out with a new album.
TDQ: What do you do when you’re not hanging out with charts?
JO: I search for things to write about and then beat myself up trying to write about them.
TDQ: Can you tell our readers a little about I Love Charts?
JO: I Love Charts is a Tumblr I created with my friend Cody Westphal in September 2009. Each day we put up around 10 charts, from the funny to the informative — news items, hard data, Venn diagram jokes, the whole deal.
TDQ: What’s a normal day like at the I Love Charts office?
JO: It involves me sitting in an armchair and doing a ridiculous amount of Internet browsing.
TDQ: Have you always loved charts or did your love affair grow over time?
JO: Charts are means to an end for me. I like interacting with people and their stories and with the data swirling about the world around me. Charts allow me to do all that in a concise manner.
TDQ: What inspired you to start the blog?
JO: Cody and I had created personal Tumblrs when we graduated from Hamilton College in 2008 that we used to keep in touch with our college friends. In September 2009 the two of us found ourselves in various states of unemployment or underemployment and the economy was horrible, so we took to Tumblr to complain and commiserate. We started posting charts on the horrible state of the economy and our bleak outlook, trying to outdo each other, and at a certain point I joked that we should start a spin-off Tumblr for our charting. The next day, I woke up and Cody had created the blog.
TDQ: Were you surprised by how many people out there love charts too?
JO: Yeah, I had no idea anybody else would care. I wish I had some grand plan of viral attack coming into this, but we really just did something we liked and got lucky. I wasn’t even aware of how much other data culture was taking off at the time until we were in the middle of it.
TDQ: Where do the charts come from? Do you go and find them or take submissions?
JO: The blog is constantly evolving based on me interests and the interests of our readers, so the process of finding charts is always changing. For awhile, we found everything. For awhile, everything was submitted. For awhile, we leaned more on traditional media reaching out to us. For the last few weeks, it’s been more me searching around than other sources, but it really depends on the day and we have a nice mix of sources and processes.
TDQ: How can people submit charts?
JO: They can go right here: http://ilovecharts.tumblr.com/submit
TDQ: How do you choose which charts to feature?
JO: I don’t really know anymore. I only put up things that interest me and for the sequencing and timing I just follow my instincts. I try to keep the blog topically and visually diverse and not retread the same territory too often.
TDQ: How many charts would you say you guys look at a day?
JO: Too many.
TDQ: Do you ever make your own charts?
JO: On occasion. We used to make a lot more of them, but that’s when we had more time.
TDQ: If you had to pick a favorite chart what would it be?
TDQ: Have you ever seen the episode of How I Met Your Mother where Marshall discovers charts? His level of excitement in that episode was somewhere close to mine when I found your blog!
JO: Haha, I have not seen that episode. I don’t watch that show. I have however put up screenshots from that show and am sure its support of humorous charting has done us a service.
TDQ: When did you decide to turn I Love Charts into a book and how did that come about?
JO: We were approached by a literary agent in Spring 2011, heard him out and decided to give the process a try. Getting the deal after that turned out to be much easier than the next step, which was figuring out what kind of book we wanted to write.
We originally were going to put together a coffee table book, but soon realized we had no interest in throwing the blog in a binder and selling it. Instead, we decided to do a lot of writing and make a cohesive product that could function independently of the blog. We took some weird chances, but are very happy with our book and how it has been received.
TDQ: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
JO: At no point during this interview was I wearing pants.
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