Visual.ly social network
Infographics platform Visual.ly has today launched new community features that allow people to more closely follow infographics from their favourite designer, data journalist, topic or news outlet.

"We are taking Visual.ly from a place where it was really easy to share infographics to a place where people can engage and interact with each other around infographics," Lee Sherman, co-founder and chief content officer told Journalism.co.uk.

Sherman describes the platform as having become a "social network for infographics and data visualisations".

As well as following designers and other users, the social network-like approach allows people to follow infographics from partner publishers, including The Atlantic, Mashable, the Wall Street Journal, CNNMoney and GigaOm.

Sherman said one of Visual.ly's goals is "helping people connect". He hopes a publisher in need of a graphic will be able to find a designer and the other specialists required to produce a visualisation.

"To make an infographic requires a multidisciplinary team. You need data analysts, journalists, researchers, designers. It's hard to put those teams together unless you are the Guardian or the New York Times or a big news organisation. We are trying to make it easier to put those teams together."

A potential benefit for news outlets could be Visual.ly's "marketplace" which will connect news outlet clients to people who can create infographics. That option should be added in "a couple of months", Sherman said.

He said it was "too premature" to discuss pricing but said the team is building in "all kinds of mechanisms for [financial] transactions so that they are really easy".

More than 32,000 designers use Visual.ly, the company said in a release, and will be able to promote their designs and connect directly with brands and publishers looking to commission infographics.

The company says today's update is the biggest since the platform's launch a year ago "and sets the stage for the future of Visual.ly's platform – a place where all the players in the data visualisation community can connect".

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