Infographics, charts and graphs… a challenge for the 73

I am a bit obsessed by the list of 73 that a friend and I found; my friend and I share a blog and he came across a list of seventy-three suggestions of different sorts of blogs you could write… and we ended up having a bit of a challenge. Yesterday I wrote about listicicles, and as I am working my way through the list in order (which is random and as the creator thought of it I think), the list which in itself is a listicle… but that is a different blog, a yesterday’s blog.

Today I am looking at infographics. I think this is just a catch-all word for lists, graphs, charts, pictures, diagrams, etc which offers information visually rather than through words, or just words. ‘A picture is worth a thousand words’  is a well-known saying – and yes, to a certain extent it is, but not always. A picture can show you a beautiful scene, but words can enhance the scene with descriptions of aspects of it such as the scents and perfumes of a place, the particular and maybe unique sounds you can hear,  the feel of the wind or the sun, and also an explanation of certain features – geographical or historical that you might see in the image.  I guess as a writer and word person (wordsmith is too pretentious!!) I would say that, wouldn’t I?

Advertisements are a really good example of images giving over a message rather than a lot of words – some adverts have virtually no words, or just a simple catch-phrase. However, thinking beyond images, and thinking of diagrams and charts and other visual representation of information, the best ones are brilliant – the worst ones makes my heart sink… When information is to do with numbers, it is much easier to understand to see a bar graph or a line graph than have it all written out. One of my interests is names and how they change and go in and out of fashion; for example, I looked up how my own name, Lois has gone in and out of fashion. Lois is in the Bible, she was St Timothy’s grandma, so maybe it has been associated with old ladies; it has never been a really popular name, rising in numbers from the 1850’s, peaking in the 1920’s and 30’s, before dropping away to almost none as the century ran out. I looked at a coloured graph to show me this; it was easy to see at a glance, and if I wanted more specifics, then the basics were there – in the 1030’s, Lois was the 21st most popular name!

In science and maths, commerce and industry, infographics are vital; some information would be very difficult to put over in any other way! I guess I have neatly demonstrated that I know little about this side of knowledge by the fact that I’ve written a couple of paragraphs above about visual images, just touching briefly on graphs, and by the fact that I am about to quote a quote from Wikipedia:

‘In his 1983 “landmark book” The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, Edward Tufte defines “graphical displays” in the following passage:

Graphical displays should

  • show the data
  • induce the viewer to think about the substance rather than about methodology, graphic design, the technology of graphic production, or something else
  • avoid distorting what the data have to say
  • present many numbers in a small space
  • make large data sets coherent
  • encourage the eye to compare different pieces of data
  • reveal the data at several levels of detail, from a broad overview to the fine structure
  • serve a reasonably clear purpose: description, exploration, tabulation, or decoration
  • be closely integrated with the statistical and verbal descriptions of a data set.

Graphics reveal data. Indeed graphics can be more precise and revealing than conventional statistical computations.’

I think that sums it up really!

Here is a link to my novels:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_4_6?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=lois+elsden&sprefix=lois+e%2Caps%2C187&crid=3AI91XPDOI7OC

… and to my piece on listicles:

https://loiselden.com/2017/10/18/the-73-blogs-dare-i-mention-listicles/

 

The 73 blogs… dare I mention listicles?

A friend and I drifted into a challenge to write 73 different types of blog from an article we read about blogging… Article… a word ending in ‘icle‘… I tried to find the origin of this suffix, ‘-icle‘, and it comes from Latin, and usually means a small part of something as in particle, of course.

The reason I have deviated to find out about ‘-icle‘ is that one of the 73 suggestions for blogs is ‘Listicles’ – which I had never come across at all. I guessed maybe it meant lists, and yes it does, so why listicles?  Listicle is a portmanteau word from ‘list article‘; I investigated and found that a listicle is something which appears in a blog or in an article which itself revolves round the list. Usually the list is numbered, and often the article is headlined with such titles as ‘25 things you never knew about...’ or ‘17 foods you should never eat if… ‘ or ‘The world’s 25 most…‘. I confess that I’ve looked at some of these (without realising they were listicles) usually because I have thought they might be interesting or relevant; however it seems to me, and I don’t want to be rude about anyone who has written these things or who reads them, most of them seem ‘off the top of your head’ style of journalism; a few Wikipedia researched facts, fluffed up with a few generalisations and a lot more totally random things which seem to be totally imagined by the writer. For a list of the world’s most famous/beautiful/ /interesting/ healthy/happy whatevers I get the feeling that they are whatever or whoever the writer likes best or least! There are other listicles which are photos, probably just trawled off Google images, of the wackiest/weirdest/ugliest people or places or homes or occupations or fashions or dogs…

There is an excellent listicle here by Steven Poole:

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/nov/12/listicles-articles-written-lists-steven-poole

People like lists, that’s for sure, and having read about them now, I find I am guilty of including listicles – or lists as I prefer to call them in some of my blogs here.  A list can be a way of writing a blog or article from nothing very much – I guess students doing homework love them because you can fill a whole page, and they look neat and important! A list can be a lazy way of writing too – not much to say? Include a list!

The original article about 73 blogs says this about listicles: ‘Who doesn’t love lists right? List articles are always among the most shared on the internet. You can create a list of just about anything.’

I guess I had better include a list… so here is a list of the books on the ‘language’ shelf of one of my bookshelves:

  • The Rough Guide to Iceland
  • Complete Icelandic and –
  • – Complete Icelandic  CDs
  • Teach Yourself Icelandic
  • The Little Book of Icelanders – Alda Sigmundsdóttir
  • New Junior Latin Course
  • Teach Yourself Ukrainian
  • The Good Jewish Home – Emily Haft Bloom
  • Chineasy – flashcards – Shaolan
  • Pocket Guide to Iceland
  • Westfjords of Iceland
  • North Iceland – the Official Tourist Guide
  • Langenscheidt Universal Dutch Dicitonry
  • The Dhammapada – The Sayings of the Buddha
  • Spell It Out – David Crystal
  • A User-Friendly Dictionary of Old English
  • A Choice of Anglo-Saxon Verse – Richard Hamer
  • Wordcraft – New English to Old English Dictionary and Thesaurus – S. Pollington
  • Living French – T.W. Knight
  • Harrap’s French Grammar revision Mille et un Points – Neil Creighton
  • Forgotten Places of the North Coast –  J.D.C. Marshall
  • Dalraida – A Guide Around the Celtic Kingdom –  J.D.C. Marshall
  • Heath’s Modern French Grammar
  • English-Irish Dictionary – Tomás de Bhaldraithe
  • So You Want To Write – Lois Elsden
  • The Geology and Fossils of Bracklesham and Selsey – David Bone
  • Bognor’s Rocks – David Bone
  • Man-o’-War Rhymes – Burt Franklin Jenness
  • The Chrysalids – John Wyndham

I mentioned the Wikipedia article – it is very interesting:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Listicle

Seventy-three?

A little while ago a friend shared something with me about blogging, a list of seventy-three (73) different sorts of blog. My first reaction was amazement, my second was to glance through and see how many I could tick off as having done or often do…

So, glancing through I picked out sixteen different subjects or types of blog I have done, occasionally do, often do. When I first started blogging I was totally new to it and had not even read that many different blogs. As with any writing it took me a while to find my voice, and I looked at and read what other people did and had a go at emulating them, picking up on their ideas and trying to do something similar. For example, at first I had a few gallery posts – a  selection of images from places I had been, or themed such as doors, pools, seaweed… However, I soon realised that my amateur photos were maybe not of much interest to anyone else, and also I am a writer! I do illustrate what I write with my own photos, but the photos are just an illustration!

I guess all bloggers sometimes sit down with an empty mind and have to struggle to think of what to write – when that happens I look at news stories, look at other blogs (not to copy but to trigger an idea) and yes, on the ’73 list’ there is ‘search Twitter for inspiration’. Search sounds very determined and focused, with me it is more wandering through the tweets, my mind open to something which might set me off writing – and what I end up posting maybe very far from the original post I spotted!

Similarly, I might pick up on what someone else is writing about – anywhere, newspaper, blog, letter to the editor, and from that follow my own ideas; I always share a link to what set me off, but on the ’73 list’ it says ‘share what others are saying’ and I don’t do that… Profiles – I might add some biographical notes to something I’m writing but I wouldn’t say it is a profile! Then there is the curious word ‘listicles’ – I had to look it up to check it’s a thing, and yes it is… well, very occasionally I might include a list – let me rewrite that, occasionally… well, actually quite frequently I include a short bullet-pointed list of something, but I don’t think it counts as a listicle really.

Thankful posts – I do mention how lucky I feel I am, how fortunate but I wouldn’t say I write thankful posts, especially as the author of the ’73 list’ means a post thanking readers, contributes and sponsors… I don’t have contributors or sponsors, but I do have readers, and I am very thankful to them for reading and responding – so maybe I should write a thankful post, because I am thankful!

From the ’73 list’, I have pulled out the top ten which I might fit (is this a listicle?)

  1. auto-biographical post
  2. think out loud posts
  3. share recipes
  4. share recent travel experiences
  5. holidays
  6. quizzes
  7. reviews
  8. current events
  9. rants
  10. criticisms and open letters

However if I were to write my own top ten as I see it of things I write about:

  1. my books
  2. writing
  3. other books and writing
  4. autobiographical/family history/memoir
  5. food and drink, recipes
  6. pub life
  7. names/naming/words, people and places and things
  8. travel, places, holidays
  9. ponderings
  10. news, events, history

… and mentioning my books, here is a link to them:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_2_6?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=lois+elsden&sprefix=lois+e%2Caps%2C137&crid=6NHAWMNC5D8Z

and here is a link to the ’73 list’:

http://optinmonster.com/73-type-of-blog-posts-that-are-proven-to-work/

What to write today

I write here every day and most of the time I just write, but every so often I admit, I do get stuck and my mind seems empty, all inspiration fled… what I usually do then is look around me and get ideas from the ordinary things I see – ‘oh, the carpet needs hoovering, I know, I’ll write about cleaning carpets and how my granny used to do it’ or I’ll look out the window – ‘that lady has a funny hat… I’ll write about funny hats, that’s an unusual bird – I’ll write about birds, that chimney is smoking, I’ll write about coal fires…’ I also have my pile of old and very old cookery books beside me so there is always inspiration there!

A fellow-blogger sent me a site which has seventy-three suggestions for blogs and topics!! Yes, seventy-three! I looked down the list and there were quite a few which were not appropriate or useful to me, business and commercial ones and suggestions for professional bloggers for example.

However I extracted a dozen which I actually do use:

  1. Listicles – I have never heard an article about lists called ‘listicles’ before, but I guess it works. I admit I do use lists – I might be writing about something, a flower, a type of food, an unusual name, and in my research come across items which I then list – and I confess, I do like a bullet-pointed list!
  2. Reviews – yes, I review things I have read, heard watched, been to
  3. A glance “behind the curtain” – I don’t write what I think the article intends which is to do with big business and successful commercial practices – this is behind my curtain and the way I write and think about writing
  4. Quizzes – occasionally I include a quiz – but frequently I write about the quizzes I attend!
  5. Think out loud posts – yup, that’s me! Every other day I ramble on about something!
  6. Rants – not so often, but occasionally I jump onto my high horse and gallop about a bit
  7. Criticisms and open letters – just recently I wrote a couple of ‘To whom it may concern’ letters about bad drivers!
  8. Share recent travel experiences – yes, I often write about places I have been to – day trips, holidays and longer visits
  9. Auto-biographical post – yes, all the time!
  10. Share recipes – almost every other day!! I love food and everything to do with it, buying, preparing, eating, talking about it, reading about it… everything!
  11. Holidays – yes, as with travel above
  12. Recycle old posts – I confess I do – but I don’t just repost them, I always add something extra, otherwise what is the point?

If you want to look at the whole list, here is a link:

http://optinmonster.com/73-type-of-blog-posts-that-are-proven-to-work/

… and if you want to look at what I write and publish, here’s a link to my e-books and my recently published paperbacks, ‘So You Want To Write?’ and ‘Radwinter’: