The Infographic Election Is Coming

by @edent | # # # #

I'm sure that the Word Of The Year for 2014 will be Polinfographic - a hideous portmanteau I've just constructed of "Political" and "Infographic".

Infographics are the content-lite, citation-free, colour-heavy spurts of marketing jizz which have replaced the sound-bite as the political parties' weapon of choice.

Voters, apparently, can't remember such complex ideas as "Education education education" or "If you want a [racial slur] for a neighbour, vote Labour". So along comes the political infographic - specifically designed to be shared on social networks.

It's like watching particularly inept mad-scientists trying to create a memetic virus to ravage the whole world.

In the last few weeks, here are just a few of the Polinfographic I've spotted on Twitter.


Charts are very popular with the Tories. Especially those with misleading or confusing axes.

Labour also like to use spectacular charts - although theirs lack the visual punch and easy to grasp nature of their rivals'.

https://twitter.com/EvidenceUK/status/404561873032728576

Labour mix it up a bit by including this sort of big central number Polinfographic - and include a hashtag to let others follow along.

Then there are the Lib Dems. Bless.

The SNP are fighting their referendum with a balanced mix of text and graphics

Their opposition also plays along

General Election 2015

We're still over 500 days away from the next general election. It appears that the parties are going to be in a permanent state of tub-thumping.

There's no doubt that some of these infographics are good political tools - they're short, punchy, and designed to go viral. Others are poorly constructed messes which may be shared only for purposes of ridicule.

Disturbingly, like most infographics, they're almost entirely lacking in context or reasonable methods of citation. The scales used on some of the Conservatives' graphs would fail a maths GCSE.

It will be interesting to see how these get shared and remixed. I wonder if the British public is smart enough to reject some of the most misleading claims - and I wonder if a political party creating the perfect meme will nudge the election one way or another.

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