Information Is Not A Thing

The internet is filled with Information, but information is not a thing.  It’s a noun, yes, but not an object.  It’s a verb turned into a noun – an action into a thing.

You’re not publishing information – you are informing someone of something.  But WHO are you informing?  About WHAT?  And WHY do they care?



The danger when you turn an action into a thing is you tend to focus on the thing.  But just as important as what you’re delivering is where you’re doing it and who will be there.  The same can be said of a presentation.  While you’re preparing to give a talk, it’s tempting, and quite normal, to focus on the presentation, but not on the people you’re presenting to.

You can easily spend too much time consumed by the words and the slides

And not enough time learning about the audience – who they are, what they know, and what they want.  Neglect this step at your peril.  Trust me, I’ve been there – more recently than I care to mention – AND IT HURT!

If social media is meant to be a conversation, imagine having that conversation – scratch that, imagine conversing – in real life!

Imagine yourself in a cosy bar chatting with one or two members of your audience:

  • Who are they?
  • What would they look like?
  • What would they be wearing?
  • What would the bar be like?
  • Still feel like you have something valuable to say?
  • Or are you just masquerading?
  • Would they listen?
  • Would they want to hear more?

In fact, forget imagining…

Go and have some real conversations – it’s good for you.

It’s not that scary, and it’s the best thing you’ll do to improve your content.

Want to know if that idea for your next blog post or infographic is as good as you think?  Tell people about it next time you’re in the pub.  And watch their reaction.  Don’t listen, watch!  You’ll know in a second if it needs more work.

Stop focusing on the information and think about who you’re informing

  • What do they want to know?
  • What do they need to know?
  • How could they benefit from thinking about things in a different way?
  • How can you help?

In short, don’t think about what you have to say, but what you have to deliver!

Hat Tip:  I was inspired to write this after reading this post by Ian Lurie

If you liked this post, please share it with your friends and followers.

AIDS, Homophobia and Wild Tigers [GRAPHS]

The Death Rate from AIDS is Dropping

That was the story of last Friday’s Daily Chart from the Economist.  The chart was a visualisation of rare qualities.  It delivered news of genuine importance, and not only that, but the graph was moving in a positive direction.

The latter characteristic made me smile.  The former reminded me just how trivial many visualisations can be.  But here was some real news being represented for a change (see chart below).

Bar graph showing a decline in deaths from AIDS

And no sooner had I read the article in the Economist than I found another piece of positive news in graphic form.

Attitudes towards gay people in the US are improving…

according to Gallup’s annual Values & Beliefs poll, as shown below.


Line Graph from Gallup showing improving attitudes towards gay relationships in the US

via I Love Charts


One more chart appeared on my radar last Friday reporting something of genuine importance.  It wasn’t good news this time however.

Wild Tigers Could Be Extinct by 2022

Poster from the WWF with a graph showing Wild Tigers Could Be Extinct by the year 2022

Image via I LoveCharts


You can find out more about the WWF’s campaign to Save the Tigers here.

Staying with the charts for a second, it was great to see 3 pieces of real newsworthy content displayed so simply and effectively in graphic form.  With my hopes for visualisation pleasantly renewed, I’ll be keeping my eye out for more.

I’ll report back on my findings.

PS  If you have a moment, please do check out the WWF site about the tigers –




Silence is Underrated

I once worked in a bank while I was a student, and as a ‘treat’ for agreeing to work overtime on a Saturday, we were allowed to listen to music while we counted the cash.  However, being mostly filled with young mothers, we had to endure Shania Twain on repeat.

My colleague – one of the few other guys in the team – turned to me at one point and said…

“Don’t you think silence is underrated?”

I laughed.  I’ve always remembered that moment vividly.

This definitely applies to the amount of online noise we are subjected to, and allow ourselves to be subjected to, daily – the vast amount of infographics very much included!

I’ll be doing a post shortly on filtering, but it’s worth reminding ourselves that tuning out for a while can be even more effective.  I could do with remembering that more often!

Joining The Story

The first post…. A blank canvas.

photo of people in front of a blank canvas

So where to start?

I once heard the best place to start a story is in the middle.  Good thing too, for I’ve no other choice.  The story of the infographic is already in full swing.  The beginning could benefit from clarification, and the future is yet unknown.

But here we stand.

Arguably, the infographic is entering the difficult teenage years.

Having enjoyed a brief and innocent childhood online, things have taken a more serious turn.  Many hold differing opinions about where to go from here.  And for those of us who care, we can but hope we are successful in influencing the direction…

Image Credit:  Blank Canvas by Henry Bloomfield