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Pictures Trump Words in Our Visual Society

ID-10022287Michal Marcol

A picture is worth a thousand words and so much more.  Our society has grown to be such a visual culture that photo sharing has become our way of communicating.  Camera phones have made capturing unexpected memories easier over the years but now we have a way our actually sending those photos out to tell your friends and family stories: social media.

No matter where you are, you can always check and update your social media sites thanks to our improved technologies of laptops, tablets and smart phones.  While the quality of these devices increases, so does amount of content that people put on their sites as well as the competition between different social sites such as Facebook and Google.  These social networks look for new ways to make their sites more unique and easier to use than the other.

Now, when we look at our Facebook accounts, much of what we see is pictures rather than statuses.  Our friends post pictures as a way of telling us where they are and who they are with.  That friend can tag the location and other people in the photo as a way of attaching quick information rather than a long explanation of the picture.  It seems that picture posting is snowballing as our society has become so visually based. Pinterest shows the evidence in this.

Pinterest is a social media site that has grown to be one of the top rated and used sites in the world.  This site features pictures to tell about new products, home décor, travel and fashion, rather than detailed wordy descriptions.  It features these photos in a classy way and as studies show that consumers are more likely to shop on Pinterest than Facebook, it is obvious that a picture is all we need to sell us.

Facebook and Google + have both recently updated their layouts to include larger photos or ‘cover photos’ which allows its’ users to select a picture that they think would best represent their social networking page.  Looking at pictures is obviously a lot quicker and easier than reading; however, everyone sees things differently.  This poses the question: how can we be sure that our pictures will mean the correct thousand words to everyone who sees them?