Commuter Kvetch: Towering infographics

“Super-meta infographics infographic“,
courtesy of Huffington Post

You’ve likely noticed there’s an explosion of infographics in social media circles — especially on Pinterest — and beyond. Have you also noticed how obscenely lengthy some of them are?

We must be in a time warp. The collective thought process is completely old school: Let’s compose a graphic that would barely fit and be readable in a magazine or tabloid newspaper, throw it on the Web, and pimp it like there’s no tomorrow.

I was recently pointed in the direction of this infographic: The Decline of Traditional Media. Never mind the content. The infographic’s format itself is evocative of why traditional media is in on its deathbed. I have to hit the page-down button seven times on my desktop monitor to see the whole thing. On my iPhone? It’s the Eternal Scroll. Is this really leveraging the strengths of a medium? Witness the URLs at the bottom acting as a bibliography. Dear author… glad you sourced your information… but it’s an image! None of the links are clickable.

Aren’t infographics supposed to convey bite-sized pieces of information, a la the original USA Today Snapshots? Who decided that themes should be exploded into a blur of combined visuals and factoids, some of which are barely a tangent? Is this because the Internet has unlimited space, and we now expand infographics because we can?

You know the saying: Just because we can doesn’t mean we should.

I understand we’re all inundated with media, most of it by choice, and anything that conveys information visually helps us digest it more quickly and move on to our next media-centric pursuit. But things have gone too far. There are too many infographics that are far too lengthy on entirely too many topics.

All of you who are posting infographics on Pinterest? I’ve unsubscribed. For the sake of others, please stop. I’m not yet sure what the best use of the platform is, but it certainly is not as an infographic bulletin board.

As an aside, I came across these commuter-themed infographic posters the other day that I thought were really cool, but they are near impossible to navigate online. I’d much rather peruse the posters to completely digest all of the information. Some things are better achieved offline:

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