Next time you're in need of a quick visual, there's no need to ask the graphic design team -- you can do it yourself.
Announced at SXSW, Visual.ly presents its new tool that makes data visualization easy - Visual.ly Create, enabling users to create free infographics in a snap.
The process is easy: sign up for instant access, pick a theme and Visual.ly does the rest.
Check out this infographic that took five seconds--at most--to make. Titled Life of a Hashtag, this theme tracks every possible detail of any hashtag (in this case #journalism) over the past month -- its first appearances, top influencers, the most outspoken discussion using the tag and more.
You can then embed the graphic, share it on a social media platform or download it for future use. Or you can use the site as a portfolio for all of your graphics by directing visitors to your profile.
Currently channeling Twitter and Facebook for its data inventory, the tool is best used to measure social media presence, but stay tuned for future expansion. There are plans to incorporate more data feeds and customization, opening up the site for users to create their own designs and themes.
Meanwhile, there are a number of other themes that could make for interesting stories. Compare two Twitter accounts with Twitter Account Showdown, track your Facebook life with the Social Life of Facebook and create a custom "Facebook monster" with the entertaining Dr. Visually's Automagical Facebook Monsterizer, just to name a few.