Harland Clarke | Jumpstart New Accounts

Infographaritis: A New Social Media Disease

A while back, I did my part for social media hygiene and health by identifying four social media syndromes: Attention deficit disorder, Twitterhea, Redactile dysfunction, and Irritable blog syndrome. 

I’m saddened to announce that my scientific research has uncovered a new social media disease: Infographaritis.

Sufferers from this affliction are easy to spot: They have an unhealthy infatuation with infographics.

A good infographic is a work of art. It’s visually pleasing and informative. It engages the viewer and is intuitive.

The problem is that there are few really good infographic artists out there.

But the fact that a good infographic requires its creator to have good data and design skills is of no concern with those afflicted by Infographaritis.

Believe me when I say that the last thing I want to do here is name names and call out the folks with this sickness. But in the interest of social media public health and safety, I’m afraid I’m going to have to do just that.

Exhibit #1: The Real Cost of Social Media. Folks, listen up: Simply slapping a bunch of numbers in a graphic and varying the chart styles does not make for a good infographic. What’s even worse, the Infrographaritis sufferer that put this one together isn’t even in the ballpark of coming up with credible estimates for the costs and benefits of social media.

Exhibit #2: The Five Types of Annoying Facebook Users. There’s a lot wrong with this infographic. First and foremost: There’s no information. It’s called INFOgraphic for a reason, no? Another problem: There aren’t five types of annoying Facebook users — it’s more like 500. 

I could go and on with examples of Infographaritis sufferers. If you feel a case of Infographaritis coming on, then please — PLEASE — go take a cold shower or something until it passes. 

Ron ShevlinRon Shevlin is Director of Research at Cornerstone Advisors. Check out Ron's book, Smarter Bank.. According to Brett King, “Ron is famous for his snarky sense of humor, and his well-researched, well-considered takes on banking and customer behavior. If you are in banking, you should read it — you will come away smarter and better informed." New! The Kindle version is here!

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  1. Big numbers don’t equate to a strategy, nor do they formulate the basis of rationale that persuades CEOs (who only want to know how it improves the business and the bottom line):

    Look at the pretty rainbow graphics…

  2. My eyes, my eyes! They hurts, they bleeds! First rule of infographics: legibility. After all, isn’t that the point of an infographic — to make a concept easier to understand? And yet that first one starts with a tiny all-caps san serif reverse type paragraph. What’s that supposed to be, a warning on a cigarette pack? Fine print on a Countrywide home mortgage contract?

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