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Published on November 2nd, 2011 | by Gerald

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Whoa! How Shit Infographics Explain the World (the wrong Way).




So Mashable again explains us the world through an info graphic wallpaper. And every self-proclaimed social media expert retweets it. Usually this is just boring. Sometimes dangerously misleading and pretty embarassing. Such as this time.

Screen Shot 2011 11 02 at 5.54.34 PM Whoa! How Shit Infographics Explain the World (the wrong Way).

Latest example of such pure and utter shit: A ‘study’ (actually a joke) that was published as an infographic on mashable, retweeted today by thousands of Lemmings who only seem to be interested to share the next bullshit-infographic as quickly as possible.

The claim sounds credible: “78% of burglars use Facebook, twitter, or Foursquare to target potential properties.”

Screen Shot 2011 11 02 at 5.51.16 PM 300x149 Whoa! How Shit Infographics Explain the World (the wrong Way).Whoa! That’s a lot, isn’t it? And it sounds reasonable, doesn’t it? After all the gods punish those freaks who keep on checking in to any location they enter. If only it would not be all so wrong and only if this handy info graphic wouldn’t be a big PR stunt that everyone keeps on retweeting.

  • The mashable article features the notorious info graphic by Credit Sesame, “a personal finance tool” claiming that 78% of all burglars use social media to gather intelligence about their next victim
  • If you browse the article on Credit Sesame you will find out that the “study” was not at all conducted by Credit Sesame: they apparently just built an easy-to-consume info graphic. The actual “study” was conducted by UK’s security company Friedland: yes, a company that earns money with your fear of burglars.
  • If you read the original “study” you stumble upon the following text: “An overwhelming 78% of ex-burglars interviewed said that they strongly believed social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Four Square are being used by current thieves when targeting properties.”
You see the difference? Thousands of people retweeted that 78% of all burglars are actually using these tools. Actually 78% of 50 interviewed ex-burglars in the UK (only) think others use such tools. And where do you meet known burglars? In prison maybe? The least likely place to make you learn on how to use Foursquare…?
Seriously, I get sick of such crap. And I am getting sickof people pretending to be knowledgeable about marketing while a) simultaneously being unable to dig deeper into a study and b) falling victim to the most obvious PR stunts on earth.

The only thing that comes to my mind is



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  • http://www.markpack.org.uk/ Mark Pack

    Ah! Glad to see someone else on the case about this social media myth. I’ve been underwhelmed so far how both Mashable and Credit Sesame haven’t corrected their stories and haven’t responded to my attempts at direct contact to point out the error. At best very poor, at worst a cynical exercise in traffic bait and sod the truth.

  • Anonymous

    It’s just one of many similar examples. Infographics of this type are in many cases SEO vehicles (http://www.buzzfeed.com/awesomer/the-truth-about-infographics). And in pretty much all cases they are just a ridiculous short-cut version of reality. Interesting enough that the ones who are screaming social media most are a) not willing to listen, b) not interested to accept a mistake and c) generally dont give a fuck

  • Pingback: Infographics are dead.. long live Infographics | Neo Mammalian Studios

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