Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Infographics and the Rise of a New Intellect

I'll be honest. I love infographics every bit as much as the next hungry information consumer. I adore the snapshot presentation of facts that gives me a glimpse of the impact and reach of certain phenomenon. (In fact, I'm producing a science show for kids that uses this approach very heavily.)

BUT -- I also know that one must be careful to check the underlying facts and the methodology with which the picture in an infographics is assembled. There is an old saying that "figures don't lie, but liars can figure." If you also consider the timeworn saw that "a picture is worth a thousand words" you can deduce that liars who can figure AND who can create infographics have 1000 more ways to lie!

Here's one from an article I saw recently.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Following the Discussion

Over the time that online discussions have been around, there has been an evolution in the way we read things. Near the dawn of "social media" the metaphor required that you first find the right discussion, and then you could see what people say. (This was the way it worked in the BBS and "discussion forum" days.)

The current fashion is to start with the people (presumably that you know and trust) and then delve your way into the discussions (which, presumably would be the ones of interest to you). We progressed from "who's talking about my topic" to "what topics are on my friends' minds?"

The mechanism that allows us to use the topic or idea to discover people, and of course to explore the ideas themselves is the #hashtag. Here are some of the things we've learned about the use (and abuse) of the hashtag.