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Graphic Information: The Internet a Decade Later

Aaron Steinfeld

Welcome to the next installment of Graphic Information, the exciting and sometimes terrifying look into the fabulous world of infographics. Through each entry, I will take a look at some of the web's best and brightest (or worst and darkest) infographics in an attempt to not only gain ever-important relevance in the world, but to also determine how effective each graphic is in both delivering and portraying oft-boring data in an aesthetically pleasing way. So, what elements make a successful infographic? The perfect storm includes: an intriguing topic, attractive visuals and a simple yet effective delivery of the subject matter. How does this installment's infographic stack up?

Hello Internet. I know you're a wild child of the crazy 60s. I also know it took you a few decades to realize just how truly wild you were, uniquely highlighted by a younger, thinner Al Gore verbally gaffing when he stated to have invented you in the 90s. But my, how you’ve grown! And if this entry’s infographic (found on Mashable and made by has but one thing to teach us, it’s that the Internet has evolved exponentially further in the past ten years alone.

What were you doing online 10 years ago? Were you Internet Exploring? Of course you were, because there were few impressive alternatives. Were you a member of Friendster, or did you enjoy a thrilling weekly visit to the illustrious Blockbuster (now owned by Dish after declaring bankruptcy) to re-watch E.T. for the umpteenth time? Sad fact: did you know that Blockbuster declined offers to buy Netflix over a decade ago? Awkward... for them.

[Full infographic after the skip!]

I found this infographic utterly fascinating just as any Internet goer of the past decade most likely would. The well versed among us might notice that the data isn’t entirely accurate for current 2012. Perhaps in early 2012 or even later 2011 the data was more relevant (really, Rebecca Black?), but data has a bad habit of losing applicability the more time passes. Regardless of the passing of time, however, this infographic delivers so much information it’s hard to not find yourself sucked into the data as you ask yourself “hey, remember when I was on Friendster? That was greeaaat... OMG, MySpace is AwEsOmE!!11!1!!!!!” Ahem.

The major sore point I have with the data of this infographic is within the Web Browser section, in which it claims that Internet Explorer is still top dog among its fellow Web browsers. According to, Google Chrome is currently the browser king (and has been for all of 2012 and the greater portion of 2011). Within that same section, it’s interesting to see how Apple's Safari and the Opera browser haven’t seen many fluctuations at all when it comes to growth or decline. Have any of you readers (besides myself) installed Opera? I wonder.

Design wise, I can’t help but love this infographic. Like, seriously dudes and dudettes—some serious love-love going on here. I generally stray far, far, far away from tacky animated gifs, but it really helps bring the data to life. (It also heavily reminds me of 2002 when there were those among us who loved a little animation on their webpages. Freaks.) While the movement is not always necessary, it never distracts the eye from the ever-important content. And wow, are there a lot of bases covered in this infographic. If you wondered about the average Internet speed, total websites available, number of social networkers or how some of the more popular websites looked in 2002, there are plenty of amusing visuals to express these tidbits, and more, in spades. (In spades? What does that even mean? Is that a gambling reference? Or a farmer thing? I’ll Google it later.) The colors pop off the page to make themselves highly readable, and whether it was intentional or not, the palette seems to be inspired from some of the top current web-based companies we all use today

Have your Internet surfing patterns changed in the past decade? Do you think this data is applicable to you and/or the world? Or do you have an infographic to share? Post away! End of Story

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