Infographics Enhance Global Communication about the Church
Contributed By By Ryan Morgenegg, Church News staff writer
The Church uses a variety of creative tools to help people understand the gospel of Jesus Christ and the mission of His Church in the latter days. The Bible and Book of Mormon are available in hundreds of languages and the Internet grants access to Bible videos, audio recordings, general conference transcripts, magazines, websites, and topics on almost every aspect of the Church.
An additional resource that members may not know about is infographics.
For many people, the brain comprehends complicated information better when it is presented in a graphical manner. Thus the famous quote, “a picture paints a thousand words.”
Wikipedia gives a standard definition for infographic: “Information graphics or infographics are graphic visual representations of information, data, or knowledge intended to present complex information quickly and clearly. They can improve cognition by utilizing graphics to enhance the human visual system’s ability to see patterns and trends.”
A library of Church infographics created specifically for a public audience can be located at http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/infographics.
Lyman Kirkland, senior media manager for the Church, works with infographics through the mormonnewsroom.org website. “We began using infographics on mormonewsroom.org to communicate facts quickly and in an interesting and visual way,” he said. “People today are exposed to enormous amounts of information. To compete with all of the other information that is out there, you need to be able to communicate in a way that draws peoples’ interest and gives them the facts quickly and concisely.”
The Church produces infographics to support news releases or other general topics. In the 2011 October general conference, Elder L. Tom Perry said, “The Church is receiving more attention across the world than ever before. Members of the media write or talk about the Church every day, reporting on its many activities. Many of the most prominent news outlets in the United States regularly discuss the Church or its members. These discussions extend across the globe as well” (“Perfect Love Casteth Out Fear”).
One of the most powerful benefits of using infographics is that people are more likely to share them through social media channels. This helps the Church to further communicate its mission.
Typically, graphics and photos contain copyrights that restrict their use but the Church has given full permission to members to use infographics for websites, blogs, video and print. “We want members to use them,” said Brother Kirkland. “The primary audiences for mormonewsroom.org are news media, opinion leaders, and the public. But the information there, and especially the infographics, can be very useful to Church members to help answer some of the questions they are being asked about the Church’s role in the public square.”
In the July 2008 Ensign, Elder M. Russell Ballard said, “Now, may I ask that you join the conversation by participating on the Internet to share the gospel and to explain in simple and clear terms the message of the Restoration” (“Sharing the Gospel Using the Internet”).
The most popular infographics have been those related to the increase in missionaries due to the change in age requirements for missionaries. In addition, the Public Affairs Department has produced two whiteboard video animations. One covers the topic of political neutrality and the other one covers religious freedom. Brother Kirkland said, “They have been very popular and help to communicate Church positions on these public issues in a unique, memorable, educational, and entertaining way.”
At all times of the day across the entire world, the Church and its teachings are being discussed on the Internet, on blogs, and social networks by people who have never written for a newspaper or a magazine, said Elder Perry. “They are making videos and sharing them online. These are ordinary people—both members of our faith and of other faiths—who are talking about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” (“Perfect Love Casteth Out Fear”).