What We've Been Up To
Before the online bandwidth explosion made video the ubiquitous king of social media and website content, infographics reigned supreme as the most engaging, shareable, and potentially viral format of content marketing. At one point, infographics were three times as likely to be liked and shared than any other form of content. The landscape of online content is and all always will be an ever-evolving, so infographics may not be quite as explosively viral as they were in the early 2010s.
For a prolonged stretch, though, infographics made a profound impact on the way we view content and what the possibilities and expectations are for how fast and how much we can learn through visuals.
It makes sense that visuals can be so much more effective for mass communication than words alone in today’s culture. So many communities both geographic and online feature broadly ranging disparities in education level, language, and dialects, so pictorial data can transcend communication the way it did thousands of years ago in cave drawings.
Whether the hurdle to copy-only articles is one of clarity or simply boredom, we are 3,000% more likely to read an infographic than a text-only article. It isn’t enough to acknowledge that infographics are more palatable to the human eye than a text-only article, it’s absolutely critical to any communication endeavor to recognize that strong visuals are an expectation for more learners than ever before.
One thing that has changed drastically in the last several decades is the sheer amount of information we are bombarded with. One study showed that approximately thirty years ago, the average person came across the equivalent of 40 newspapers worth of information every day. That may seem like a lot (especially if you’re old enough to remember what a newspaper is). But just two decades later, that number had more than quadrupled to 174 newspapers worth of data.
In that context, our brains have to choose what information to focus on, a decision that is more competitive than it has ever been. And eye-tracking studies reveal that relevant, informative images attract our attention much more than text alone or images that are considered generic, such as stock imagery.
So in that flood of information, more than our brains can possibly absorb or retain, information that is organized well and designed according to the way our brains learn in this age takes on unparalleled value both for us as readers and businesses hoping to make even a remotely lasting mark on customers or employees.
The good news is that the form information takes dramatically impacts how much of that information a reader retains. Studies have shown that when data is presented in purely verbal form, audiences are able to remember just 10% of that information after three days. However, when an informative picture or graphic accompanies that information, audiences were able to retain 65% of the information presented.
So, in this age where potential audiences are drowning in data, the advent of the infographic has been a game changer. It tells readers exactly where to look and presents the data in a way that is easy to process and to remember. We as marketers could bemoan the fact that, of the audiences who do choose to read our text, only 1 in 10 bits of information will stick—or we can celebrate in knowing we have a way to increase that retention more than 6 times over.
Infographics may not be the most-shared form of internet content anymore, but we should never lose sight of the fact that they are among the most attractive, most informative, and most memorable ways to package important information in an age of data-overload.
“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
– George Bernard Shaw
Poor internal communication has considerable negative impact on the workplace, yet we so often fail to recognize it simply because of the pervasive problem so eloquently stated by George Bernard Shaw: we fail to communicate because we assume we’ve already done it. In perhaps no other setting is communication more taken for granted than it is in the workplace.
Workplace communication problems manifest in all kinds of disastrous ways: insufficient training, lack of job definition, ignorance about company outlook, and distrust, the cancer of any company’s health. So how can you tell when poor internal communication is plaguing your company? Here are five ways it is sure to show up.
This may seem obvious, but if communication isn’t one of the things your company does best, it is probably one of your biggest problems. Put another way, keeping up communication within your company is like maintaining good sanitary practices at a restaurant—anything less than stellar can and will lead to big problems.
The truth behind this is that good communication doesn’t just happen automatically. Miscommunication, gossip, complaining, and passive-aggressive silence . . . those are the things that crop up on their own. Strong corporate communication requires constant intention and attention. When the evidence of bad communication becomes impossible to ignore, it usually comes in the form of a colossal mistake, a toxic culture, and/or the loss of one or more of your best employees or managers.
Action point: make an effort to improve your internal communications beyond just a few subtle tweaks. Don’t just make it better, make it outstanding.
Are you finding instances of multiple people completing identical tasks unnecessarily? Maybe you find the same few reminders being repeated meeting after meeting or constantly having to go back and fix the same mistakes again and again.
The easy excuse is to blame the employees “responsible” for either not knowing a job had already been done or not knowing how to do things correctly. But this problem is more frequently the product of poorly communicating procedures, roles, and best practices as well as not listening or watching for clues that better training or procedure changes need to take place.
Action point: if you’ve said the same thing 10 million times to no effect, or the same tasks continually get repeated, think of how you can dramatically change the way best practices get taught or progress gets reported.
Everyone in IT is completely insulated from everyone in accounting who is completely insulated from everyone in sales who is completely insulated from . . . the cycle goes on and on. Communication may be great within each department while being nonexistent beyond those groups.
Many factors contribute in complicated fashion to a silo mentality, but a central theme among them all is the challenge of communication. If every department has a strong understanding of what the others do, what their strengths are, what they do to contribute to the success of the company, and what they need from other departments to truly thrive, every individual component of the organization will feel less like an isolated unit and more like an integral part of the team.
Action point: try creating an illustrated workflow chart, report, or animation that effectively portrays how each department contributes to workplace success.
Scholarly research indicates that gossip comprises 14% of conversation during workplace breaks and that it leads to workplace cynicism. Gossip may seem like an inevitable reality because people are always going to talk. But a lot of workplace gossip fills the void left by communication failures in the corporate culture.
When the corporate mission is effectively and genuinely communicated, when successes are properly accredited and stumbles fairly acknowledged and understood, there is far less for employees to explain with conspiracy theories and speculation. But when the only top-down public discourse is blustery spin or ho-hum corporate announcements, or even silence, employees will do their own communication, and it won’t be pretty.
Action point: Make your communication vibrant, interesting, engaging, and worth sharing. If you can’t say it with excitement, it might not be worth saying. And if you have nothing exciting to say, the problems go well beyond communication.
Complaints in general can often be traced to something not being communicated properly—some deficiency hasn’t been addressed or some key mission point hasn’t sufficiently been taught. Keep in mind that almost all of your team members want to do a good job, succeed, and help others do the same. So most things that go wrong could be remedied with better communication—in one direction or another.
This could be a problem of poor communication, training, or listening from the corporate side. If customers aren’t satisfied, be attentive to signs of feedback you may have been ignoring.
Action point: Imagine the satisfaction of your typical customer as a story. Do you tell that story regularly? Does everyone at the company know that story backward and forward? If that is communicated well, consistently, and creatively, the most important part of your business will be front of mind for your whole team.
Here’s an overall, across-the-board suggestion for improving internal communication: step up beyond the conventional means and incorporate the tactics that make outbound communication successful. Visual communications such as infographics, whiteboard animations, and explainer videos have been well established for communicating to customers—your team is no less important than your clientele, and communication is essential for training, morale, mission-casting, and more.
The issues of pollution and global warming have a lot of people concerned about Earth. Will the planet even be inhabitable by the next century? What would humans do if sea levels continued to rise, animals kept going extinct and the air became more and more toxic? Many people, including scientists, point to the stars. NASA and other space agencies around the globe put a lot of time and effort into searching for Earth-like planets throughout the galaxy. They also work on technology that may one day be able to produce an artificial atmosphere so that an uninhabitable planet, like our close friend Mars, could become a new colony for humans. But what exactly would we need in order to move from Mother Earth and settle down on another planet?
It isn’t entirely unreasonable to think that humans could one day live on a different planet like Earth. In fact, scientists have already discovered a near clone of Earth far, far away. 8.2 quadrillion miles, to be exact, meaning it would take humans 26 million years to even reach it. The planet was named Kepler 452b, and it’s been confirmed that the planet has the same makeup as Earth, including an oxygen-rich atmosphere and a molten core. The main problem is that we would need light-speed travel to get there, and the scientific jury is still out on if that could ever be possible.
Many astronomers point to our red neighbor, Mars, which is actually quite dangerous as it is, considering it has no magnetosphere to protect from the sun’s radiation and no oxygen in its atmosphere. Some scientists believe Mars is hiding frozen, fresh water deep beneath its surface, but more excavation would be necessary. In fact, a lot of things would have to happen to make Mars livable, including: a new atmosphere or constant oxygen tanks/tents for humans, decontaminated soil rich with nutrients from Earth, suits made from radiation protection fabric and pressurized habitats with individual heating sources.
The desire for exploration propels mankind into space, but unfortunately so does the fear of extinction. Earth will not last forever, whether it is destroyed by its own inhabitants or by time itself. The search for inhabitable planets and new, life-sustaining technology may become necessary for the continuation of the human race.
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We’re all told that adding more fresh fruits and vegetables to our diets can help us lead healthier, disease-free lives. But nothing is worse than looking in the fridge or pantry days after grocery shopping and finding rotten fruits, moldy vegetables and — worst of all — a ton of money down the drain.
The fact is there is a science to storing fruits and vegetables. Each one has its own unique needs when it comes to factors like water, sunlight and containment. The spectrum is wide, too.
Cucumbers, for example, should be stored in the fridge with a damp cloth wrapped around them while potatoes can last weeks in a cool, dry, dark pantry.
There are some foods that should never be wet when storing, like strawberries, which can easily grow mold. However, keeping celery stalks cut and in water preserves them for a longer period of time.
Tomatoes, bananas, oranges and plums can be left out on a counter at room temperature. But leave out cherries and you’ll be tossing a bunch of squishy globs of mold in a few days’ time. Even herbs have different storing needs, depending on the type. Leafy herbs like mint, parsley and basil should be kept in a damp paper towel in the fridge. Woody herbs like thyme, lavender and oregano should stay in separate sealed containers to maintain their aromas.
It’s no secret that Americans are notorious for wasting food. Some estimates say almost half of the food grown, processed and transported in the U.S. goes to waste. When you store your fruits and vegetables correctly, not only are you saving yourself some green, but you’re helping the planet stay a little greener, too.
Healthcare is quite the hot button issue in the U.S. these days. There is a lot of talk about reforming the health insurance industry, affordable insurance rates and what the overall healthcare system in America should look like. At the heart of all the legal back-and-forth is a question that not many people ask: just how healthy (or unhealthy) are Americans? When thinking about healthcare as general support for someone’s well-being, it’s important to know the facts about health statistics in the U.S.
Preventive care is a large part of why many Americans think healthcare is the most important issue facing us today. The more access someone has to regular checkups and early screenings, the more likely it is that they’ll lead healthier lives as they age. Preventing disease is much cheaper than treating it, and catching things like cancer early means longer life expectancy.
Viewing accessible, affordable healthcare as a way to prevent things like heart disease — America’s No. 1 killer — and cancer have the potential to change what type of care we think all citizens should have access to. The U.S. certainly isn’t the healthiest nation in the world, with almost 50% of adults suffering from a chronic illness; and many countries have higher life expectancy rates than we do. However, we all know knowledge is power, and statistics show that a lot of disease in the U.S. comes from preventable causes, like smoking, obesity and substance abuse.
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Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump don’t seem to have much in common, if their life experience is any indication. Born just about a year apart, their lives took very different paths shortly thereafter. Explore the two candidates’ resumes on a side-by-side timeline so you can directly compare and contrast what each one has done.
Guess when Nintendo was founded. 1980? Wrong. Try 126 years ago. The company began as a playing card manufacturer, but thankfully things changed and Nintendo conquered the world of video games. Take a look at the timeline of Nintendo.
As a dog owner, it is not uncommon to want to spoil your four legged friend by sharing your favorite snacks or even feeding them your table scraps. We often assume that because something is safe for us that it is safe for our dog as well but that isn’t necessarily the truth. While many human foods such as sweet potatoes and carrots can be fine for your dog, others foods such as grapes or chocolates can lead to long-term health problems and, in extreme cases, even death. Knowing what foods we can and can’t give them is often the best way to look after them.
Watch out for Pokemon Go Players! They’re all over the place, with their faces glued to their phones in search of Pokemon. While the Pokemon has been around for decades, the new app is taking the world by storm. People from all walks of life are finding themselves under the enchantment of the game.
Within the first few weeks of it’s release, 7.5 million people downloaded the app to their phones. If that’s any indication as to the popularity of the game, then there could be well over 50 million downloads within the first 2 months.
So what’s so different about this app? One thing in particular is that it promotes exercise. People using the app have to get outside and move around in order to experience the game. Pokemon Go also brings people together by incorporating face to face “social media time”.
With all the good that comes with the game, there are some aspects that are dangerous. In a few states, people were robbed while playing Pokemon Go. One group was lured into armed robbery, and the other group was victimized while paying attention to their phones instead of their surroundings. There’s also the risk of increased car accidents, as people tend to focus on their screens more than the road.
Overall, Pokemon Go has been a hit for Nintendo, increasing the company’s market value by $9 billion within the first five days of its release. If you’re not a player, it’s definitely a game that you have to experience to understand. But beware, it’s addictive!
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America. The Land of the Free. For hundreds of years, immigrants from all corners of the world have flocked here in search of freedom; freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and even freedom to love and marry whom they please. The United States is the glowing symbol of liberty, with promises of equal rights for every citizen, and the opportunity shape your future in any way that you choose. But how much of this is propaganda, and what is the true reality for Americans? Are we really as free as we would like to believe, or has “liberty and justice for all” become just a cliche?
Well, when it comes to justice, in many cases it depends on what you do, and what color you are. For example, despite very similar usage rates, whites aren’t arrested nearly as much as blacks for simple marijuana use. Statistics show that African Americans are nearly 4 times as likely to be arrested for this reason.
Well, there’s still liberty right? Yes and no. Even in America, you’re only free to do so much. When it comes to electing an abortion, certain states have enacted ordinances that make termination of pregnancy quite burdensome. And when it comes to the freedom to live and work where you please, if you don’t have the financial and educational resources, then your choices are quite limited.
The United States is still a young and growing nation, with much to learn about true liberty and justice for all. But overall, we are leaders in taking strides to direct ourselves down the right path, and slowly addressing the bumps and bruises along the way. We’re not a perfect nation, we promote individual rights and fairness for all. God bless America.
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