Sunday, 26 February 2012

When Infographics go bad!

I love infographics. There, I said it.

In my job, for me, to be able to actually see the data presented visually a Very Big Deal to me. I collect and consume them, and I won't lie - it's because of the pretty colours, pictures and fonts. A good infographic is like a work of art. I even have a collection of them on Pinterest (next to my Horror Movie posters and spooky images, of course), which is maybe a bit too much(?)

Which is why it annoys me when companies looking to make a quick buck out of their product put together ones that are patently untrue. I feel really cheated - especially cheated in fact.

I sometimes feel that they try to shield really shoddy information behind a load of pretty images. Never forget that infographics are there for one reason, and one reason only: to promote the company that put it together. That's not a bad thing necessarily, but it can be, when the information is skewed for their benefit.

Which is why I was frustrated when I saw this one, carried out on by the digital agency Beyond.



What annoys me about it? The contradictory information.

It says that the rate of sharing per average Facebook, Twitter or G+ user will plateau over time, yet at the same time, it claims that more frictionless, and more personal sharing will increase.

Which one is it, then?

It's heavily-skewed towards pretty anecdotal information on what and how the way people might share, which is a noble aim, but if anything, I would say that given the fact that they say personal and frictionless sharing will increase, there is no evidence to suggest that sharing will decrease at all.

Over time, sharing to social networks will mature. It, however, will not plateau, or even shrink. We, as humans, are constantly evolving and constantly sharing, which is why we are drawn to networks like Facebook, Twitter, G+, Reddit, StumbleUpon etc.

Sharing provides validation, which is a powerful, primal feeling. We all live to be validated by others, as well as ourselves. If we share widely, we are seen as influential. We are hot-wired to need this sort of validation, this 'Leader of the Pack' mentality.

The more widely we share, the more likes, +1's, comments and retweets that we get, the more we do it. In my opinion, this will not change anytime soon, but I'm open to counter arguments!