I first explored Infogr.am in 2012 when I was starting to notice infographics appearing on the web more frequently. Then there seemed to be a huge growth in the addition of interactive visualisations and a proliferation of tools for novices to make their own. I have used it a few times here, here and for work purposes.
The power of visualisations is their ability to make engagement with data easier. They capture the eye more compellingly compared than tables of data, and they (especially infographics) enable a layer of interpretation to often be included to get the 'reader' started with exploring the data. So there is some similarity between data visualisations/infographics and research 'publications'/articles/books in this interpretive role. Referencing or citing data visualisations has become more prevalent as their number has grown on the web and I think this has contributed to a greater appreciation for the underlying data. Another contributing factor could be the rise of data journalism with publications such as the Guardian's datablog.
A useful site for learning more about using data is Storytelling with Data.
As an exercise for the Challenge Me section, here is a map I made using Google Fusion with data from the State Library of Queensland which lists the locations of public libraries. The data is available under a CC licence. In the process of correcting geocoding that Google automated I ended up messing some columns of data so I have not displayed opening hours and contact information as they would be mislabeled. The original source data is correct for these columns. I've run out of motivation, but ideally it would be cool to merge some other data source into this showing some other type of service, or demographic data for the region.
Source: State Library of Queensland (2016), Queensland Public Libraries February 2016, http://data.gov.au/dataset/queensland-public-libraries (Accessed 27 April, 2016)