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Infographic Dumps, or “Life Hack Threads”, are posts where users leave tips that provide some kind of utility to the reader, or simply educate about a given topic. They can be found on various message boards like 4chan and Reddit.
Outside of the Internet, one of the most popular counter-culture instruction manuals was published in 1971 titled The Anarchist Cookbook. It contained graphics and instructions on how to make explosives, telephone phreaking devices, drugs and many other items.
“Infographic” is a broad term that can refer to any visual representation of information. They have existed since prehistory when early humans made cave paintings, and the earliest map dates back to 7500 BCE.
On the Internet they are generally associated with large images that contain detailed information about a given subject, and have become increasingly significant as images have become easier to download and embed.
2005–Present day. The information graphic trend starts to become popular amongst the larger social media aggregation sites Digg Reddit. The data contained in modern info graphics tends to be research centric and attributed to multiple sources. Information graphics of note are the Infographic Resume of Michael and the more modern UK Government Spending live infographic
With the popularity of the information graphics continuing to grow, see google search trends, many internet marketing companies use this to generate viral content that web users will share freely.
The website onlineschools.org has been behind the spread of many infographics on the web. It has been speculated that they are using the tactic of viral images for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes:
Onlineschools.org uses this fact to increase their ranking for the search term “Online Schools.” They submit these info-graphics and articles to websites like Reddit at specific times of the day when they are most likely to go viral. Once it goes viral thousands of websites end up linking to their site, most with the predefined anchor text “Online Schools.” Instantly boosting them in search engine rankings for that term. People searching for that term are likely to actually sign up for a school, making Onlineschools.org affiliate commissions.
The term life hack was coined by tech journalist Danny O’Brien in his book Life Hacks: Tech Secrets of Overprolific Alpha Geeks published in February 2004. The term was further popularized online when Gawker Media launched the blog Lifehacker.com.
Search queries for “infographic” saw a major increase in volume from January to May in 2010, and picked up again in January of 2011.
- Reddit – Life Hack Collection
Reddit – Reddit, what is your favorite poster / cheatsheet / infographic? / 1/16/2010