Posts Tagged

visual.ly
Silk: Data-Driven Content Management

Traditionally, the perceived role of the written-word journalist is to depict an event, a place, or a scene, in eloquent prose. In most respects, this traditional perception still holds true, even in today’s multimedia-rich publishing climate.

There has, however, been one seismic change in the industry, which has completely altered how stories are written: data. Big data. Data so huge that it has only entered the mainstream in tandem with the recent advent of powerful home computers. Now, stories are told as much in numbers, averages and probabilities as they are in expressive paragraphs. But, bizarrely, the internet has yet to catch up; ever tried to include graphs or infographics in your blog? If you have, you’ll be well aware of the stilted nature of the task, and the unappealing bitmap-based finished product. In other words, it isn’t pretty.

That’s why I’m excited about the concept behind Silk, a new hosted CMS which has information, graphs and infographics at its heart. But is it the platform to start a data-driven trend in citizen web publishing?

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Everyone loves a good infographic. It is such an easy way to digest statistics instead of having to read endless lists of boring and confusing figures, and it certainly makes the lunch break browse of the ‘Net a lot more interesting. Websites such as Mashable publish plenty of infographics and visualisations on their website, and the useful thing about visualisations is that they can virtually be published on any topic, as long as there’s some degree of statistics involved (my particular favourite is this one on Angry Birds users).

But, what happens if you are searching for a particular visualisation, either for your article or just out of general interest? Yes, there’s the old-fashioned way of searching via Google or trawling through hundreds of sites, but surely you just want a site like Flickr where you can browse through infographics, without having to waste time searching for them?

This is exactly what Visual.ly is. Think of it as Flickr for infographics and visualisations. Signing up is completely free and there’s some exciting features built into it (with a couple more in the pipeline).

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