Are Infographics Making Us Stupider?

And infographic on infographicsI probably won’t get a lot of agreement on this one.  But, do you remember when we used to make fun of people who wouldn’t read a book because there wasn’t enough pictures in it?  Seems everything needs to be presented as an infographic these days.  I know it’s tapping into peoples’ different learning styles and all.  OR we’re taking complex concepts and whittling them down into fluffy bite-sized chunks that are just as easy to forget as they are to look at.  They’re like the Cheetos of the information industry.

Can you remember the details of the last infographic you looked at?  Can you remember the subject?  Then again, maybe we don’t need to remember.  At any time, in any place, we can google “Lindsay Lohan drug arrest infographic” and have an answer to our question.  That question being “At what age will Lindsay Lohan begin ruining some child’s life?”

Of course, to internet marketers, bloggers, and other people interested in being followed and shared, infographics represent an easily shared chunk of net-crap(tm) that makes people seem smarter than they are.  We can share a graphic and think “I get this.  I’m so smart.”  Unfortunately it usually doesn’t involve any sort of actual discussion of the topic beyond “like”.  It’s what people who run sites call “link bait”.  Isn’t that a pleasant term?

Yes, I’m aware that I wrote this post hoping you’d share it.  Cue evil laugh.

That being said, I’d like to present some truly awful infographics…

Granted this infographic from Republican John Boehner about the Democratic health plan is probably meant to be this messy, it's a great example of "bad" and "manipulative" all in one.

Terrible war infographic

This gem easily and succinctly illustrates, uh.... something about 3 trillion dollars.

Confusing infographic

I'm not sure if you're supposed to wear 3D glasses for this one or if you squint just right an actual picture appears.

Wrong proportion bad infographic

If that's the proportions, I want 25% of that guy's next chocolate chip cookie.

Confusing bad infographic Middle East

Just in case you were wondering why the Middle East is a bit of a confusing mess... It's because it's a confusing mess.

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