Infographics are a con and a betrayal of their purpose
I dislike infographics. Nine times out of ten they are a betrayal. When they appear on the author’s website, one time out of ten, they’re fine. When they’re sent to me with the invitation that my blog readers will be interested, they’re a con; and I dislike them almost as much as I dislike the people who send them.
I got another yesterday. The covering letter said:
“Don’t be evil.” Google’s unofficial corporate motto was originally adopted as company-wide belief as well as a jab to its competitors. However, Google has come a long way since it was incorporated in 1998. Can we still trust Google to do no evil? There is increasing evidence to suggest that the answer is ‘no’. Please check out our infographic on Google to learn more and please feel free to reuse it on Kevin Townsend using the embed code provided at the link.
Of course we can’t trust Google. We can’t trust anyone or anything on the internet. What we do is try to understand the issues and act within the level of risk we are prepared to take. But many of us still don’t realise how much data Google has on us – so a nice graphic explanation sounds appealing. I had a look.
It starts with the same paragraph that was used in the email. It ends with “Or you can simply quit using Google products altogether…”
But it was sent to me by email@example.com – clearly someone who believes in what he preaches. And then you see the purpose of this con: the advert for the author of the infographic. Sending these infographics to bloggers in order to get free advertising is a con; and a betrayal of the true purpose of infographics.
Nevertheless, I had a look at the advertiser. Would you believe it? Background checks. “Background checks can be a great way to ensure the safety of your family, home, and employees. You can use them to look up information about an individual’s criminal, financial, and educational history, and then use that information to make an informed decision about that individual’s character and trustworthiness.” Here’s a company effectively complaining about the private information gathered by Google saying ‘we can get you more.’
I dislike infographics. I dislike this one with a vengeance.