Dealing with reality vs. infographics

Over the past few weeks I've been wrapping up the beta project for our new business model and, as a result, I've been putting off a lot of writing.  So for the next few posts I'm going to be cleaning up the flotsam and jetsam that's accumulated on my desk.  First off, Infographics

The recent web fad of reducing an argument to a trite graphic is really irritating to me... especially when the position taken is so poorly researched that it negates the senders' credibility. I usually only comment directly back to the sender about the error, but back in March I got an unsolicited email (from someone who did not identifiy what axe they wanted to grind but I was able to discover it anyway) asking me to comment on it in my blog.  Here's my comment.

What a load of crap.

Here's the infographic.



Right from the beginning the hucksters pushing this information start out with a prevarication: that Wikipedia forced Encyclopedia Britannica to leave print.  It's not true.  It's not even sort of true.  Encyclopedia Britannica did announce it was leaving print this year, but not because of Wikipedia.  It did it because it can more easily update its information on line than it can in print.  Print sales of the EB were declining for years before Wikipedia came on the scene simply because people could look up information.  The company is actually doing quite well.

Now every other piece of information on the graphic could be correct, but by leading with something that is so blatantly false it makes it difficult to believe anything else.  That's where I have so much difficulty with this kind of information dissemination. 

The internet is full of crap, just as every other form of media is full of crap.  But what makes the 'net so different is that it is relatively easy to find out if the crap you are reading or viewing is true or false.  That's why I love social media and the internet.  I don't have to believe anything.  I can check everything.  That's also why a lot of marketing people and entrepreneurs (outside of web-based businesses) really prefer to avoid doing their work on the web.  Static printed graphics can make outrageous and/or vague statments without potential customers checking up on them immediately.

Now the publishers of the above crap added a bunch of url's to try to add and image of veracity to their stuff, but since they can't be clicked or copied it's difficult to check up ont heir sources.  This, too, is part of the practice: Give the illusion not the reality.

So, that's what I think of the infographic from, a company looking to replicate Wikipedia's success by disseminating poorly researched information.  I would highly recommend avoiding their practice.