‘TMI’ may stand for Too Many Infographics

For a recent article in  CW magazine I interviewed Alberto Cairo of who teaches at the University of Miami, FL.

One of the questions I asked him was if infographics was being over-used today.  His answer was an unconditional yes! Tons of substandard projects, in fact.

There are “dozens of dubious graphics and “infoposters” that were not designed as tools to aid cognition and understanding,” he said. The problem? People think that by just compressing numbers side by side with ‘cute illustrations’ they could come up with an infographic.

If you like to read more about from Cairo, who’s the director for infographics and multimedia, here’s a link to my article. He’s also got a great blog, a companion to his upcoming book, Functional Art.

He refers to my interview with him in a post, A conversation on marketing, PR and infographics. He makes a great point there. That all this massaging of information is not bringing out the clarity we need. Especially when infographics are being “designed to attract eyeballs with bells-and-whistles.” In my interview he put it another way. “Infographics’ first goal is not to be cool, but to be understandable, readable, useful, and deep.”

I just came across one of these bells-and-whistles infographics. It is on the Kony 2012. I’m not sure what the purpose is and how it really helps us to know how the Kony interest stacks up with other, trivial YouTube videos. Here’s the link to that.

Compare that to this, below, posted by Cairo. It’s a work in progress, by students at a workshop. But you get the drift.

Online Privacy for the rest of us

If you didn’t see the blackout yesterday in protest of the Online Privacy Acts going through the House of Representatives and Senate (known by their acronyms SOPA and PIPA) it’s time to pay attention.

It won’t be trampling on the Wikipedias and the Facebooks of this world alone. Google, Reddit, and Craigslist, WordPress, Mozilla, and O’Reilly also protested the acts.

As Shel Holtz rightly noted in a great insightful piece, SOPA threatens much of the content residing on websites of organizations “as long as it resides on a .com, .org or .net domain. All it takes is for a user to upload a video, a photo or a presentation that violates someone’s copyright—even if it’s someone singing a cover of a song at a party—and under SOPA, Internet service providers could be ordered to block the domain name.”

Even those involved in advertising and SEO work.  Even Higher education! Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies, according the ReadWrite Web.

I just submitted an article for publication on infographics, so this one caught my eye. It summarizes the issue well. But…. does that mean this blog too could come under scrutiny by the SOPA police?

If you care about having your voice heard, you can sign the petition here.

Updated: The House of Representatives statement on the blackout, says that this was a Wikipedia ‘publicity stunt.’ In a press release (responding to the claim that some organizations had dropped their support of SOPA) it stated that ““Contrary to critics’ claims, SOPA does not censor the Internet.”