Infographic marriage proposal is a Valentine’s Day story for journalists

Stacy Green couldn’t sleep last night. Her partner Drake Martinet had just proposed to her at a French restaurant in San Francisco, and said he had a special valentine for her that would be published on Mashable and All Things Digital this morning.

“I said, ‘Hey as long as you’re OK with it, I have a special Valentine’s Day card for you tomorrow, but it’s going to be somewhat public,” said Martinet, social media editor for All Things Digital. “She and I are pretty open about our relationship, but I think it was good that I told her because she got to call her mom and her sisters before the whole Internet knew.”

By Tuesday morning, the valentine — an infographic titled “Love Visualized” — had been widely circulated on Twitter and Facebook. People expressed their congratulations and said the adorkable infographic appealed to their “inner nerd.”

“I was blown away by how thoughtful and geeky and wonderful it was,” said Green, vice president of marketing and communications at Mashable. “We knew pretty much early on that we were the ones for each other and that we would get married.”

When Green was out of town for Davos 2012 last month, Martinet started to prepare for his proposal. He had already bought her an engagement ring, but wanted to do more than just get down on one knee. So he set out to find a creative way of using images and words to show why he thinks they were meant to be together.

Both Martinet and Green believe in soul mates; she has a more philosophical outlook on it, while he has a more statistical one.

“I always say something unromantic, like ‘Yeah there’s probably only a few hundred thousand people who would fit with you as well as I do, and the odds of them meeting you is pretty low,’ ” Martinet said. “To me, that’s sort of the equivalent of soul mates.”

To prove his point, Martinet looked up population statistics and created an algorithm that took into account various factors such as the places he’s lived, the amount of time he lived there, and the number of people he likely met each day he was in those places. Using white markers, he drew out the algorithm on the couple’s glass shower door.

“I stood in the bathroom with my calculator app open on my iPad and worked out these various numbers,” Martinet said by phone. “As long as [the algorithm] was overestimated, the whole logic of the infographic would hold true. It’s still an incredibly small chance that I would have met her.”

After he created the algorithm, he sketched the infographic and then created a third draft in Photoshop. Martinet, who admits that his “Photoshop skills aren’t awesome,” and he doesn’t have much experience creating artistic infographics. (Most of the graphics he’s created have been related to campaign finance data or civic employment data.)

Martinet, who sought help from friends to polish his math and the design of the infographic, finished it in about two weeks. He was originally going to present it to Green on an iPad, but instead decided to ask Mashable and All Things Digital if they would publish it. Both he and Green were surprised by how many responses it generated.

“I am just so touched and delighted that people are excited about it and wishing us well. It’s surprising but wonderful,” Green said by phone. “I love that both the organizations were part of it and had some fun it.”

Green and Martinet met while working at The New York Times. When he moved to California to work for All Things Digital, they kept in touch online for three months and then had their first date on New Year’s Eve 2010. They dated long distance for a year until Green moved from New York City to San Fransisco last fall.

Both of them say they knew from the start that they had a promising future — and that they were brought together by more than just luck. The infographic, Martinet says, illustrate this idea.

“I wanted to showcase that even though I’m pretty logical, and probably over-logical, I still believe in small miracles,” he said. “Stacy is evidence of that.”

We have made it easy to comment on posts, however we require civility and encourage full names to that end (first initial, last name is OK). Please read our guidelines here before commenting.

  • http://www.poynter.org Poynter

    Thanks, Denise. I’ve made it a lowercase “s.”

    ~Mallary

  • http://www.facebook.com/denisemreagan Denise M. Reagan

    Very fun story and proof that all things can be an infographic. However, it’s Photoshop, not PhotoShop.