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Images and Words

This feels like it has been the year of the infographic as information exchange becomes ever more visual (Have we finally caught up with graphic designers who knew all along that images trump words?)

A recent article in Fast Company confirmed that 'users' (horrid word) like images, pictures and videos on social networks:

A 2012 study by ROI Research found that when users engage with friends on social media sites, it's the pictures they took that are enjoyed the most. Forty-four percent of respondents are more likely to engage with brands if they post pictures than any other media. Pictures have become one of our default modes of sorting and understanding the vast amounts of information we're exposed to every day.

More important for communications professionals — reputation managers as well as product touts — there is a relationship between enjoyment of images and a propensity for action as the infographic below demonstrates.

Images (photos, videos, design ) capture and express emotion, contribute human subtext, facilitate visceral connection. But visualization collars a moment; it doesn't explore. Images help you see, but not hear.

What images don't do quite so well is explain, offer context and add nuance to discourse. That's where words come in. As Joseph Conrad wrote in Lord Jim "“My task, which I am trying to achieve is, by the power of the written word, to make you hear, to make you feel--it is, before all, to make you see.”

Effective social web content strategies need both, each image and word selected for how it can induce reflection, ideation and action.

Keen Right and Wrong

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