Yesterday I learned that the worlds information is doubling everyday… an incredible 1.8 zettabytes! And this incredible number has been turned into an infographic to help us all process the scale.
Impressive? No. It’s a load of useless old toss.
Why? Because an infographic is supposed to inform and educate. After viewing it, I am no more able to understand the scale of 1.8 zettabytes than I was before viewing it. Telling me that 1.8zb’s is like 57bn ipads is useless. I can’t even picture 1bn ipads, let alone 57!
When I view an infographic like this, I think to myself, what can I learn about this topic? What can I now do with the knowledge that’s been shared? If I can’t do anything with that knowledge other than try to impress other people with the numbers, then the graphic is pointless. It’s just pretty.
People creating numbers graphics for the sake of it, are doing nothing more than fulfilling a bad brief. Now whilst I’m fine with being paid to create something that someone else wants, we’ve all gotta pay the bills, I fully understand. But we need to be smart here and realise that the graphic is not useful in anyway.
Foby comments on the mashable page echoing my feelings. I have no idea of the scale of Mount Fuji and I doubt many people have either. Keith Hanson also agrees that the numbers are still too baffling to make sense of. Of the people that are agreeing, I would seriously challenge them on what on earth they are actually agreeing with.
So is this graphic a complete waste of space? No. It’s useful to people that know nothing about the scale of the internet and are too embarrassed / lack the confidence to disagree with any website of notable authority. One could argue that it is simply a conversation starter? Yep, I’d agree, it’s certainly got me talking!
Note, not one word has been said about the designer or researcher? I have deliberately left them out of the argument because it’s the job of the editor to say, ‘great… it’s pretty, but pointless, lets pull it’.