Infographics

Yesterday I had a meeting with Andrew Lyons of Ultraknowledge. The main topics were the opportunities for making the archives of members of the AIB (Association for International Broadcasting, for whom I am currently working) more accessible and also the use of Twitter and other means of voting for the People’s Choice award (best programme on climate change at the annual international media excellence awards run by the AIB).

But as usual with Andrew, the conversation whizzed off into lots of fascinating tangents with many interesting ideas popping up. Although I say they were tangents, they were nearly all relevant to the discussions but left us with a wealth of potential ways forward out of which we must pick the ones we have the resources to tackle.

One of the things I am very grateful to Andrew for introducing me to is infographics. I have been looking at informationisbeautiful, the work of Dave McCandless. Now I am a bit of a data geek (I remember numbers quite easily) but find that there is so much data about and it is hard to put into context. Consider just the financial world, with the sizes of government debts, annual budgets, savings, personal endebtedness and trade in bonds – the figures are often quoted but rarely do you see a good way of putting them into perspective.

It is not just figures that can benefit from more visual explanations, either. As people become more connected on the web and the social media tools become more powerful (they have been around for ages in various forms without being given the “social media” label until recently, but that is another story). so marketers need to understand the connections, who is saying what and who has influence. Infographics looks like being an important tool to help us.