The Future of News in the World of Tablets

The-Tablet-Revolution-Graphic-9001

(See http://features.journalism.org/files/2011/10/The-Tablet-Revolution-Graphic-9001.png for larger picture)

Captioned “The Tablet Revolution & the Future of News” this piece attempts to inform the reader of the new trend towards digitalization of news. To analyze the validity of the statistics shown I first visited the Pew Data Source (PDS) (link) website listed as the primary resource, and discovered that the PDS is a nonpartisan “fact tank” that conducts research projects to inform the public about the issues and trends shaping America. After scrolling through thirteen, in-depth, pages of analysis I found one titled “Methodology” (link2) where the site listed Princeton Data Source (link3), as the group that had collected the data. A thorough examination of their data collection methodology yielded the origin of the statistics. The Princeton Data Source uses random digit dialing and scientific sampling to create a pool of potential sources to be surveyed.

On its own, random digit dialing is generally looked down upon as a poor method of representing the population’s interests, specifically when samples as low as the ones used in this study are selected. However, combined with scientific sampling methods, the Princeton Data Source can select their applicant pool with algorithms that allow them to accurately represent the total population.

This info-graphic draws on sophisticated, non-partisan organizations that try to inform the public about a technological trend in America. For the reasons shown above, I believe it is a reliable resource.

On the other hand, not all info-graphics have such extensive research to back their statistics. A big influence in advertising today is money. Unfortunately, the most powerful groups in this respect are politically polarized or technologically competitive. As a result, many today can be misleading and may provide factually inaccurate claims as well as opinionated judgments.

 

There’s More than Meets the Eye

Big Data Inforgraphic

This is a link to the Infographic

        This infographic shows a number of statistics related to the collection and transfer of data on the internet, giving the audience an idea of how massive “The World of Data” really is. This information is presented in such a way that the audience believes the information, instead of questioning the sources of the data. The viewers, including myself, get attached to the point that this infographic is trying to make by honing in on specific facts such as: Google collects 24 Petabytes of data per day, 20 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute, and 2.9 million emails are sent every second, which causes us to trust the information in this random image. However, how can we trust the sources of this information and where do they come from? To find out, we will take a look at the specific piece of data: “Google collects 24 petabytes of data per day.” By analyzing the source of information in this image, we can determine the reliability and value of the infographic itself.

Big Data Infographic

 

The claim that “Google processes 24 petabytes of data per day” must have come from some research or information that Google presented themselves. To find this research, I began by searching the web for “Google’s Data Consumption” (I actually used Bing as a search engine, just in case Google was not willing to freely release this information to the public). I got redirected a couple of times to new websites, but it didn’t take long before I found an article about MapReduce, which is the software Google uses to sort and process their large quantities of data. In this article, a photo was shown comparing the amount of data Google has processed from August 2004 to September 2007. If you look at the numbers for 2007, and add up the amount of input data with the amount of machines used, it does indeed come out to over 20 petabytes.

Google MapReduce Satistics

 

Here’s the link to the magazine

        This article was published in 2008, in the “Communications of the ACM” magazine. “ACM (Association of Computing Machinery) is the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society, and they deliver resources that advance computing as a science and a profession.” The fact that this source was researched by a reliable Association, reviewed by a publishing company, and published, I believe it establishes itself as highly credible. The original infographic also mentioned MapReduce as one of its sources, therefore I think this Infographic uses reliable information and can be trusted.

ACM’s website is here

Big Data Infographic 2

        This infographic uses the reliable information that “Google collects 24 petabytes of data per day,” and puts it in context to make a strong claim about “How Big the World of Data” really is. This is how most infographics are, therefore the source of information is usually irrelevant, because the strong claims and visual evidence allows the audience to believe and consider the claim being made. However, the sources of information really matter, especially when being made in other contexts, such as a lawsuit against Google, or a scientific study about how information is collected online. Therefore, it’s important to understand the reliability and value of a piece of information by knowing the source. There’s a reason you cite all of your sources in a research paper, or any other academic paper for that matter. It’s not just so you can sound smarter, it proves that your work is credible and your facts come from actual data and is not made up. This infographic may have turned out to be reliable, however not all infographics are. Depending on the context the information is being used in, most infographics should not be trusted without a little bit of background research.

Does Design Really Matter?

Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 4.23.21 PM 

Because most of the text is too small to read, here is a link to the infographic online.

This specific infographic jumped out at me as I was scrolling through Google because of its visual appeal. After visiting the website that posted it, I discovered that it was merely used as an example of how an infographic can present survey data. The infographic says at the top that a company called 99designs had conducted the study and created this graphic. In search of further information, I googled “99designs does design matter study” and then found the original source of data.

The link that I initially came across presented the infographic as just an example of a certain type of infographic. Therefore, the actual data was used in a more shallow manner, just to show that it can make survey data easy to interpret. To provide insight on how insignificant the actual data was, only a portion of the actual infographic was posted on the website. On the original source of data, however, the substance of the data is much more significant. I did some research by visiting the 99designs company website and learned that they specialize in providing graphic designs to small businesses. This infographic was perhaps published to make their product seem more important and essential to other small businesses. It also shows that small businesses are willing to spend more money on this, perhaps to show that “other people are doing it”. Each of the two uses of this infographic serve their purposes, and the infographic is reliable. The survey information displayed comes directly from the 99designs study and is posted on the official 99designs blog. This company is also well-established globally and provides all contact information. In general, one should attempt to trace an infographic back to its original source because context can change meaning. One should also research the affiliated company or organization to see if it is credible. After doing so, a decision can be made.

 

Are Infographics as Trustworthy as They Seem?

http://www.vijayforvictory.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/The-Facts-about-Bottled-Water.jpg

Infographics are unique in that they convey information effectively and creatively with an emphasis on visual elements. A side effect of this method is that people tend to believe it unconditionally. Images give viewers a false sense of authority from the author that is not always justified.

As with many infographics, the sources in the above graphic are small and to the side. One of the sources listed at the bottom (here is the link) concerns the price of bottled water and offers the information surrounding the cost of tap water versus that of bottled water. Several of the sources are broken links; the one I picked was one of the few that was still intact. The source, which, for the sake of clarity, will be referred to as the article, happens to be published by the same group as this infographic (Environmental Working Group or EWG) but is not completely consistent with the data that is shown in the image. While the infographic states “the price of bottled water is up to 10,000 times the cost of tap water”, the article states that this number is closer to 1,900.

Some brief digging shows that EWG is a credible source that researches and reports much of its data. Because of this fact, it is relatively safe to assume that the article is the primary document. The troubling aspect of this finding is that the infographic above is also a product of EWG which affects the credibility of both sources. One possible reason for this discrepancy is exaggeration, as it is clear that the intent of the above infographic is to discourage the use of bottled water. Exaggerating the price of bottled water is an effective and eye catching way to reduce its  consumption. In light of this finding, the validity of both the infographic and the reports at EWG may be placed into question, despite the viewers initial impressions of the infographic. While some of the information that is presented in this image may very well be true and supported, the overall perceived credibility of the infographic may be augmented by its visual appeal. It is a distinct possibility that the infographic is incorrectly communicating data and its validity should be put into question.

Facebook’s Critical Number: 140.3 Billion

Facebook-infographic-1-billion

Link: http://mashable.com/2012/10/05/the-most-important-facebook-number-140-billion/

Note: I was encountering problems scaling the picture to the screen, so you’ll probably have to go to the link to see the infographic in full size. In addition, this blog post tackles infographics in general.

I’ve found this infographic in several Internet blogs, and in several entries on Imgur and Pinterest, but I dug deep as possible to find the closest to original source from which this image comes. Seeing as how it is a Facebook infographic, and its source (Facebook Newsroom) is pointed out in the bottom left, as the reader I safely assume that these statistics were acquired from Facebook itself, and not just made up; I trust Facebook as being the credited source of the data. However, despite the credit I give to this infographic, it took over an hour of digging through the Web to find a source I felt was authentic, or the most trustworthy. Considering the length of time I spent searching, and the dozens of sources I checked for authenticity, I hold the conviction that infographics are unreliable display cases of information until an original source can be found.

For infographics in general, not just the aforementioned Facebook statistics, I feel they are an effective means of organizing and displaying data, but they themselves cannot quantify an argument; they require a blog poster, a web editor, or some other outside entity to bend the information held within towards a specific argument, goal, objective, or what have you. Furthermore, I lose trust in a website or blog that sporadically uses infographics without citing their source, as the creator/editor of the post may have just carelessly slapped the image into the text to make it more visually appealing, doing little to nothing good for the structure of the post or its argument.

To be blunt, infographics should not be trusted UNTIL a primary source can be identified and drawn upon. Simply finding one on the web and thinking to oneself “Hmm, this looks trustworthy” without bothering to look into the source(s) may prove to majorly mislead the reader.

National Octopus Day!

octopus_infographic1

In honor of National Octopus Day on October 10th, this infographic on octopuses was created to give viewers some general information about octopuses. Though I found this infographic on google images, the source of the infographic was not too difficult to track. I began by following the image to the website it was taken from. This led me to a daily infographic website. Their article accompanying the infographic was the information on the infographic written in paragraph form. They gave no sources in the article, but there was a source on the infographic. The creator of the infographic included their source of the National Aquarium and a website. On their homepage, I searched for octopuses on their database of animals within the aquarium and found only one variety of octopus: the Giant Pacific Octopus. This link led to an abundance of information about the Giant Pacific Octopus and octopuses in general. It even included the original infographic that I had found on Google images confirming my belief that the National Aquarium had made the infographic.

I also came to the conclusion that the information provided on the website was not taken from alternate sources for two reasons. First, there were no sources listed on the website, and scientific articles and websites usually post their sources to confirm their claims. Secondly, I was exploring their website and found a page of their “experts”. They have experts in multiple fields that would suggest the knowledge was either learned in their studies, or they conducted their own research and were using their own results and observations on the website. My assumptions of scientific protocol for citing sources, and the National Aquarium’s group of experts leads me to believe that this is the original source of the information.

Transparency

Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 11.17.38 PM

https://www.wikileaks.org/plusd/about/

In this editorial, the new Wikileaks Public Library of US Diplomacy (PlusD) is being released to the world to see. The library boast of holding over 2 million records of the US involvements in, and diplomatic or intelligence reporting on, every country on Earth. The library holds data from the Kissinger table, which comprises of 1.7 million documents on US diplomatic information that has been classified as ‘secret’. Assange tagged this “the single most significant body of geopolitical material ever published”. These documents are from the National Archives and Records Association (NARA), which evaluates and releases government documents to the public after 25 years. Wikileaks said that they made “a detailed analysis of individual fields” to “reverse-engineer” the PDFs and create PlusD, a database of these documents that people can actually search through.

 

This database relates to Assange’s principles that can be inferred from Raffi Khatchadourian’s article No Secrets. The article states that he had some altruistic motive and he acted on the belief that everyone should have access to everything. This was one of the reasons Assange started Wikileaks. With this transparency, he hoped to expose injustice to the world and the people can have an idea on the kind of data the government collects about them and also know what the government does with this data.

 

Compared to 2010, there has been a huge change in how the society reads Wikileaks today. In 2010, Wikileaks was a new establishment and many people especially the press doubted its credibility. Though all its sources were stated, people where just uncertain about it. It also received a lot of criticism about exposing confidential information. Most of these criticisms where made to shy Wikileaks away from exposing embarrassing information about the government. But now in 2014, Wikileaks has been embraced by the society as a very credible source of confidential information. Seeing that Wikileaks doesn’t break any legal laws, its critics have reduced though some still exist. Wikileaks has now been installed as part of the society and works as a conscience for the governments.

Fighting for Which Future? When Google Met Wikileaks

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/karine-nahon/fighting-for-which-future_b_5831494.html

The blog post “Fighting for Which Future? When Google Met WikiLeaks” by Karine Nahon does a very good job of showing how WikiLeaks is viewed now, in 2014. In a short summary of how WikiLeaks is now used, it is as an example. The article itself is about the future of the internet. The discussion of the blog post is about how the internet should be managed in the future. It focuses on two specific possibilities, one is that the internet is corporate controlled and the other is government controlled. WikiLeaks is talked about in the argument about a government controlled internet. This is because WikiLeaks exposed so many government secrets that the government is now considered less trustworthy than before. When one thinks of the government most people used to think of a group that had their best interests in mind, but now with the WikiLeaks out and many government secrets being revealed people have started to question whether or not they can trust the government. The post also uses Google and WikiLeaks as models for the future of the internet and how each model has its own pros and cons. This article is import to the relevance of WikiLeaks because it has beena few years since the original uproar of the release of WikiLeaks. Most of the articles were very reactionary and polarized. The main two argument around the release of WikiLeaks was if the site’s creation was an act of trader or a patriot, but with the passage of time WikiLeaks has been accepted as its own entity. When just doing a simple Google search of WikiLeaks it is easy to see that very few articles focus on the website itself. There is a mix of gossip about Julian Assange and articles like “Fighting for Which Future? When Google Met WikiLeaks” which use WikiLeaks as an example. WikiLeaks has lost its focus in the national spotlight, with time. There are no more predictions about the effects WikiLeaks has changed how people think about the internet, but now that it has been out for awhile the actual website itself is much less in the discussion about the future of the internet

 

America runs on coffee?

Infographics by Stephen Catapano, via Behancehttp://www.pinterest.com/infographicmad/beverages-infographics/

I found this infographic on Pinterest, however when I researched where the data came from I found multiple branches of sources. The first “fact” I was concerned with in this image was the 48 million styrofoam cups used daily. I grew up in New York City where there is a coffee cart every half a block. I bought coffee every day at many various locations and I was only ever handed paper cups. Even when buying drinks from a deli or Dunkin Donuts I usually am given plastic, not styrofoam. After researching the amount of styrofoam cups used by Americans, the average was about 1 billion per year. When you use this number to find cups per day it comes out to approximately 3 million per day. 3 million per day is significantly less than the 48 million daily number on the infographic. Next, I found a website that specifically looks at coffee statistics. This website states that the average price of a cup of coffee is actually $1.38. Surprisingly, on the website Statistic Brain I found almost all of the data exactly the same as on the infographic. Noticeably, the data was sometimes reversed to show larger percentages on the graphic. For example, on Statistic Brain it states that 35% drink their coffee black. The opposite of this would be those who add cream or sugar (the 65% on the infographic). Larger percentages and  statistics makes the infographic seem more interesting to read and seems to stand out more when it comes to the facts and figures of coffee drinking.  Almost all of their remaining data points match precisely with what was posted on Statistic Brain.

After following through 4 other sources from Statistic Brain to Live Science Magazine eventually to a study published in  the Archives of Internal Medicine, did I find the original source of the data. the study was actually performed in 2011. I think that the data found in the infographic posted, while interesting, is misleading because of its outmoded facts. This really emphasizes how we should always question the information that we are given and check the relevance of the data.

So 2010…

https://wikileaks.org/WikiLeaks-Calls-for-US-to-Drop.html

WikiLeaks article
WikiLeaks article

 

Supporters of WikiLeaks and Assange, alike, should find hope in this article. There is a unnamed Department of Justice official who believes that Julian may get away with his publications to WikiLeaks. There should only be a glimmer of hope, however, because this information is coming from an anonymous source that may or may not have correct statements. Even if this source was correct, this information “only deals with a small part of the grand jury investigation, [which] has been primarily concerned with trying to prove somehow that Julian Assange and WikiLeaks were involved in a conspiracy with their sources”. Still, Assange escaping peril would be a small victory for him and  his supporters.

This type of post, another post like this, or a leak would behave differently today than the Collateral Murder video that Assange unveiled in 2010 did. WikiLeaks hit its prime a few years after it was founded, so in  2010, the information was still relatively fresh and the leaks were still exciting. The government still had hope that they could put an end to Assange’s antics then, but now they are realizing that it might be harder than they originally thought to put an end to it. Also, people are much more involved in sharing information now than they were four years ago. With more and more people taking up social media, links are becoming easier to share and reach more people; consequently, more people are sharing them.

These factors contribute to WikiLeaks not being as effective as it was just a short period ago. The leaks aren’t being challenged as much by the government and they’re in-your-face, which doesn’t create the same impression on a person as it did when they were secretive. The leaks have just become plain and ordinary to people. If the same Collateral Murder video were to leak today, it would not  be as effective. Even with the same message and that message possibly reaching more people, the leaks have become so commonplace that the effect on our culture has been corked.

Where’s the Syllabus?

Last Friday, many students mentioned in their feedback that the blog was hard to navigate, that it was hard to find communications from me in the midst of all the student posts. To remedy this situation, I’ve moved course-wide communications to a centralized blog, with a new, related URL: http://www.ericrettberg.com/datacult. Student posts will still live on individual section sites, but course-wide communications from me, including schedule information and prompts, will be located on the main site. By having one centralized site, the distinctions between instructor communications and student work should be easier to discern.

SiteMap

Each Sunday, I’ll post a preview of the week ahead to the main site.

Your username applies only to your individual section site, but the comments sections are open throughout the main site—so feel free to ask questions, whether you attach your name to them or post anonymously.

To get to the main site from this page at any time, use the link in the upper left-hand corner. Corresponding links on the main site will take you to the individual section blogs.

SectionG2Link

The Sunny Side of Knowledge

The-Sun-Diagram

This picture could be classified as an infographic, but, in my opinion, a diagram is a much simpler name. Although the diagram centers the most around the actual image of the sun, almost all of the information comes from the words and figures surrounding the sun itself. The detail, whether talking about the textures used to represent the surface or the interior, are not the most exquisite. This leads me to believe that this picture could have been used in a textbook oriented around a middle school student level science class because it seems like it is too advanced for an elementary student but not detailed enough for a high school or college level. The black text used for the arrows, symbols, and words seems like the best possible choice, although the placement of some of the words makes them a little difficult to read due to the lack of contrast with the background image. The artist also used arrows that were not rigid and straight, but some of them were curved and even made them squiggly. This technique could have been used to appeal more to the eye but it was most likely used to show directions of motion, maybe even to explain the natural behavior of the heat and light the sun emits. In my opinion it was poor choice for the artist to put the sun on a light blue background. It makes sense because we always see the sun in the blue sky (hopefully that is what he was thinking) but the sun is a massive ball of hydrogen and helium floating in the middle of space, and I therefore it would have been more effective for the background to have been black (and possibly some other stars glimmering in the distance). Other than a few flaws, I feel like this diagram completes its objectives of teaching the viewer more about the nature and physical aspects of the suns by using (for the most part) contrasting text and arrows and a simple model, forcing the audience to focus more on the information at hand than just staring at the picture (which I am sure all of us have been guilty of in some point of our educational career).

How to do the Gangnam Style

Infographic: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-xjdpxLmw4is/URql14iVxYI/AAAAAAAAABk/EqbhmGOntuI/s1600/GangnamStyleThe5BasicSteps_50b941fe62867.jpg

Original Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bZkp7q19f0

The original source, as it says in the bottom of the infographic, is Youtube. However, Youtube can be a very broad source of information considering there are currently millions of videos present on that particular website. So, I am going to assume that the actual original source of information comes from the Gangnam music video itself, since it was the location where the dance first made an appearance. The infographic that is pictured here offers information through the use of words and pictures, which, in some ways, can be beneficial for slower learners who need guided steps in order to learn things. On the other hand, the video offers a few things that the infographic cannot. First I’ll state the obvious. The video offers a video. This is most beneficial for people who need to have the ability to physically see things being done in order to learn how to do them. By looking at the infographic, one can see the steps of the movements, but not the movements themselves. As a result, the dance could potentially be learned the wrong way depending on how someone interprets the given information. However, while the video may be fast paced, it is straightforward and easy to visualize. The infographic especially adds value to the information because it includes an outline that explains when to use each step in the dance throughout the song.  This is seen very clearly in the upper right corner of the infographic where it has the chorus written with each corresponding step listed above the phrase it goes with. Also, notice how the word “step” is written in red, making it easy to connect with other steps on the page. This would be a hard concept to learn or even memorize if a person is trying to do so simply by replaying the video several times. Overall, a combination of the two sources would be most effective if a person wants to learn how to do the Gangnam Style dance correctly and efficiently. The video should be watched first so that the movements are familiar to the person, and then he or she should use the infographic to figure out the details and the order of the steps, referencing the video when needed.

“Andre The Great”

Andre the Great infographic Infographic

http://visual.ly/andre-great-infographic (Infographic)

http://www.nba.com/playerfile/andre_miller/bio/ (source)

Infographic is not an unique feature in sports. In fact, sports may be the field that uses infographic most efficiently. Among sports, basketball and baseball are the ones that use infographic most often. Infographic in sports is used widely in showing various records and statistics. Infographic, having the advantage of visualizing statistics in neat and organized way,  helps readers to view substantial amount of records easily by putting them in visualization rather than mere words and numbers.

Picture above is appropriate example to show advantages of using infography.  You can see how the information in the source seems so boring, and infography, in contrast, is certainly much more attractive.  The infography above emphasizes its main theme in a way that everybody can recognize as soon as he/she sees it. “Andre the Great.” This infography is obviously praising numerous records established by Andre Miller, the basketball player. Just below the title, there are several lines you can see, explaining the statistics below. Those lines are the ones that i referred to, as “mere words”, just as words shown in the source page. Those letters with relatively small sizes are marking that they are not that important, since all the information is shown below in clearer and more distinctive way. The orders of records from 1st to Andre Miller and the number of those records make viewers easier to understand what kind of records did he achieve, and about where his records is positioning at.  For  last two records, bar graphs are making the point more clearly. Such infographic gives clear idea of what kind of information it wants to convey to its readers. Also, picture of Andre Miller on the right side cannot be neglected. Such visual aids cannot be provided in writing. The picture not only shows the appearance of the player, but also tells his back number and the emblem of his team, which is, by the way, Denver Nuggets.

Twitter BIRDIES!

The infographic, compared to the actual information, is obviously much more colorful but this infographic is interesting because it isn’t based on numbers but on observations of the human behavior. I mean, of course, this twitter information was probably made up by the amount, or number, of people that fit in a certain category and the source probably created this with the number of a certain kind of twitterer. They just classified a certain type of person from twitter using information they have to make overlying categories that most people fit into. This is taken as a subjective case compared to like the amount of plastic one uses because those are mostly numbers, but the twitter infographic is based on a sort of subjective view. The source would be muddled because one would have to do all the searching through the words but the infographic is already made with pictures and in color. The source is from Next Generation Online which is focused on technology, mobile, and web news. They probably created this through a long period of researching the different types of twitterers out on the web.  They made it look like an actual twitter post which could catch people’s interest more than just graphs or charts. It clearly adds a more visual, colorful, and most of all easier way to see all the information all in one place. It has interesting birdie characters that most people can enjoy.

https://twitter.com/ngonews

Why We Shouldn’t Throw Babies

playing with baby

http://resourceful-parenting.blogspot.com/2012/06/bayi-anda-bukan-bola.html

In this article, the infographic and the visualization both play a very important part in conveying a very important idea to the general public.

Let’s start with the visualization. At first glance, we quickly notice that the visualization is a man playing with a baby. More importantly, it would appear to be a general guide on how to play with a baby. We see on the left that simply holding the baby is a gernally accepted action through the relatively “calm” color scheme in the drawing and a big “yes” underlined near the picture. On the right side, however, we see the same man throwing his baby up into the air, with a big, slanted “no” in all caps and all red lettering along with a warning sign. This visual communicates to us that it is ok to hold a baby up in the air but actually throwing it into the air comes with some kind of warning or wrong doing.

Moving on to the actual information, the article states that throwing babies is a very dangerous activity. The baby may be enjoying it, but at such a young age even if you do catch it every time you can still cause the baby some serious health problems attributed to the increased heart rate the baby gets when it is in freefall. The information listed in the article helps explain the reasons behind the visualization. Without the information, we would be left to assume that throwing babies is wrong and we would have absolutely no idea why this is. The picture states an idea, and the information sheds light on the idea introduced in the picture. Without the picture there would be nothing for the information to talk about. Without the information, we’d just have a picture with a vague purpose that we probably wouldn’t be able to pin down for a discussion of any kind.

Infographic: the electric car initiative

http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1087971_where-are-electric-car-charging-stations-infographic-shows-it-all

This infographic gives us lots of information regarding electric cars. The map clearly shows the growth over the years in a very clear and concise way that is easy to visualize and understand. When it comes to data that tries to describe the location of things on a map, it’s very hard to find alternatives to present that information other than using an actual map; however, what makes this inforgraphic stand out is the use of colors to distinguish and organize information. The colors used are visually appealing and provide very useful visual cues for when reading or just skimming through the infographic. This infographic uses flat styling to help make it as visually appealing as possible as well as to give it a modernistic touch. This infographic adds tremendous value to the article mainly because it displays information that can only be presented visually: one such example of this are the approximate locations of the charging stations on the map. Even without looking at the numbers presented, it is clear to anybody who even takes a quick glance at this inforgraphic that the number of electric car charging stations has increased over the years. The alternative to the infographic would include stating the numbers and perhaps using a basic map to visualize the locations of the charging stations. With this infographic, a legend of 1 car = 1000 vehicles makes interpreting the numbers even easier; readers can visualize how little 326 plug in hybrids in 2010 is when compared to 38,565 plug in hybrids in 2012. Without the visualization, it’s much harder to imagine the real comparison between these two figures. The greatest advantage of having this infographic is the use of easy-to-interpret visual cues that help people understand and retain the information better. Just numbers without pictures make understanding the general concept harder and the article would not be nearly as effective at its argument.

 

Experiential Response: Infographics are not always what they seem

2014-09-23-infographic

 

data source: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1hRFvUhAVi7UUP15rBcAU1W-_LGqnz3fNi3bKUqTeS-Q/edit?usp=sharing

infographic: http://www.coolinfographics.com/blog/2014/8/29/false-visualizations-sizing-circles-in-infographics.html

 

We hear it all the time, “you can’t trust everything you see on the internet,” and at this point no one is naive enough to blindly trust anything they see online. But people still make mistakes and this applies to people working for reputable organizations as well.

The image I chose was actually posted in response to an infographic that I remember seeing a couple weeks ago. It was posted on a well known and established news site and worked to point out the disparity and almost-hypocrisy of the American public. It pointed out the difference in fundraising for disease research and the diseases that actually kill the most people in the United States and accompanied an article about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

The infographic was well sourced but discerning readers discovered that the graphic artists behind the graphic broke the Area Principle. People notice and view the relative values by looking at the area of each circle (its “size). The graphic was scaled by diameter and because of that, the differences were vastly exaggerated (as you can see above).

The story’s point doesn’t really change (there is still a discussion to be had about the the disparity between funding) but it isn’t nearly as extreme as the original infographic made it seem.

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Looking at the raw data I think that infographic was crucial to the presentation of the information. Aside from visually representing the numbers, the colored circles allow the connections to be made between the two charts. It sounds remarkably simple-minded but looking at the two mediums, I see the graphic to be infinitely more valuable than the charts. To make the connections, most of your attention is put into shifting your eyes back and forth to link the spending to deaths and that detracts completely from the bigger picture. Besides the visually ‘larger’ number (257.85 takes up more space than 3.20), the raw data tables convey almost none of the effects of the infographic.

Using Positive Statistics the Wrong Way

infographicreview.com-is-your-bachelors-degree-worth-ithttp://infographicsreview.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/infographicreview.com-is-your-bachelors-degree-worth-it.jpg

Immediately this picture draws our attention to two things, the words “worth it?” and the price tag on the graduation cap. This simplifies the whole argument of this infographic to the point where it can easily be picked up in a matter of seconds.  by comparing the large amount of debt owed by graduates and the huge increase in for-profit institutions to the relatively small increase in starting salaries, the author gets the audience to start questioning whether going to school is really worth it. This is done by short snippets of facts that are otherwise unsupported. One of the sources listed on the graphic is the College Board. On the College Board’s website they state, “The purpose of the College Board is to develop and coordinate activities related to student academic preparation, admission, financial aid, and success in postsecondary/higher education. In carrying out these activities the College Board is committed to access and equity for all students,” (https://www.collegeboard.org/about/governance/bylaws). This info graphic is using stats published by the College Board with the purpose of showing, “success in postsecondary/higher education,” to try and prove getting a 4-year degree is not worth it. By doing this the author takes the facts and statistics out of contexts and uses them to try and say that by not going to college you are somehow making yourself more unique and marketable. The truth is quite the opposite, when hiring for any job no employer would hire the high school dropout over someone with a BS or BA. That is the reason so many more people are going to college now, because even though you might build up debt by going to school, the investment will pay off with more lucrative job opportunities and better financial prospects. Just by scanning the list of sources, which are placed in very small print in the corner of the page, one can see how ridiculous it is that some would have any negative statistics about the value of getting a degree. Besides the College Board, who not only makes it their purpose to promote secondary education, but whose profit also depends on the interest of students wanting a postsecondary education,  the infographic also sites the Board of Education who states, “ED’s mission is to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access,” (http://www2.ed.gov/about/overview/mission/mission.html). By taking two such out of context sources and using them to prove a point contradictory to both, without using them as a counterargument, destroys the credibility of this infographic and shows how easily facts can be manipulated to try to prove the opposite point.

It’s Not What You Know, It’s Who You Know

http://sales.linkedin.com/blog/house-of-cards-the-power-of-connections/
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This infographic represents the power of social connection within the fictional television show House of Cards. While I have never seen this series, I can strongly concur with the message presented in the image. As important as intelligence and skills are, a person who desires to be successful must have an outlet into the community and workplace, and the only way to connect with potential business opportunities.
The complexity of the web shows the usefulness of a broad professional and social network. Those connections are also grouped and color-coded in order to symbolize the ability of a person to branch out to different subsets of people. Also, the inclusion of faces shows the inner circle of people that have a large influence on their subordinates.
Linked-in is also an ideal medium for this infographic. This social media site is specifically designed for professionals who would benefit from this type of information and visualization.