Is a Picture Really Worth a Thousand Words?

I’d say yes. And now more than ever.

Earlier this week I had the privilege of participating in a CAMA (Canadian Agri-Marketing Association) Ontario webinar on social media strategy hosted by Jay Baer. Jay is the founder of Convince and Convert, a marketing services firm. Jay knows his stuff and is considered the go-to guy when it comes to social media strategy. He’s worked with many clients including a number in the agriculture industry. So of course I walked away from his webinar armed with new insights and ideas.

He had many interesting points but one stuck out in my mind and I want to touch on it in this blog post. He encouraged his audience to create a visual communications plan. “How can you tell the story with pictures and videos and not words?” he said. This made me think of the old adage – A picture is worth a thousand words. Now more than ever that adage rings true. We are increasingly becoming a visual society.

With the soaring popularity of visual-based websites and applications such as Pinterest, YouTube and iPhone’s Instagram, lately I’ve found myself wondering if the written word is dying. Less and less focus is being placed on words and more on pictures and videos.

Those of us who are writers are being told that stories and blogs that contain pictures and videos are viewed more. And Facebook posts and Twitter tweets that contain photos and videos also have a higher number of views. As a writer I have mixed feelings about this. There’s nothing wrong with photos and videos – they have their place – but have we as a society lost the ability to simply read words? Especially the younger generation.

This also made me think of infographics, which are graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge. Infographics, which are also becoming popular, offer a way to present words in a visually pleasing way for the reader. As a marketer I can see how they would be advantageous in certain situations, but it also makes me worry that the written word is dying a slow death.

And when people do type or write these days, often they’re not even real words but abbreviated versions due to the advent of texting and Twitter with their 140 character limits. This used to be called short-hand but was usually only done when making notes for yourself.

Jay continued by saying that he doesn’t expect this visual trend to reverse any time soon. So for those of us who are content generators and want to connect and engage with people, it seems like we have no choice but to follow the trend.

What are you thoughts on this? Are you a Pinterest or Instagram addict? Do you take the time to write? I’d love to hear from you. Please comment below.

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