Once upon a time, storytelling was an oral tradition—we didn’t have TV and the interwebs and, going way back, newspapers, etc. So great tales were passed down from one generation to the next. Technology has done a lot to change that. Granny may still gather the kids around for story hour. But now little Johnny may make her stories into blockbuster movies. We live in a world of visual storytelling.
With today’s widespread use of social media (even Granny has a Facebook account!), our affinity for the visual medium continues to evolve. Kind of like how Uncle Jim’s story of rescuing a kitten a dog chased up a tree eventually came to include a harrowing trip across a rushing river and not one but two large bears.
You can’t shake a virtual stick online without poking an artsy-fartsy Instagram montage, a carefully curated Pinterest board or a chock-full-o-data Infographic. They are everywhere and they are sticky as all get-out. People like pictures. They help people interpret information quickly and folks feel that they are part of the story. Even if the story is totally random. And they’re compelling. Take a look at this Polio Infographic and tell me if you aren’t left wondering what was going on in Pakistan. And how exactly India and Nigeria made such a big change.
In the data-loving world of impact storytelling, infographics can help future supporters cut through the clutter and see what matters: the size of the challenge, the number of people helped, countries impacted, increases in good stuff, decreases in bad stuff. They allow you to take a few key pieces of data, wrap them in a story and make them memorable and shareable (with just a few mouse clicks). For a little inspiration, take a look at the Pinterest board Beth Kanter has assembled or some of these resources: