“A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words.” We have all heard this expression, but today this notion is perhaps more true than ever before. I don’t have 100% proof of this fundamental swing, but a huge part of my job at Webolutions (going on 18 years) is observing, identifying and bringing to light new trends in sociological behavior. Over the past few months, I have been seeing a real tipping point in information consumption behavior that is worthy of noting to the savvy business owners and marketers that read our blog.
Image-Based Communications is the term I am using to use to describe this growing preference and notion that more and more people are quickly and more effectively communicating via pictures and imagery, than through the written word. While imagery has always been used in effective communication, it has been used to supplement associated written information. However what we are seeing in many communications today is that the imagery is the communication and the written word is being used for clarification.
Factors Contributing to Image-Based Communications
1) A trend towards far less formal written communications. New words are being created and accepted faster than ever before. Punctuation and sentence structure in many communications has become far less formal. Of course it is still important in professional communication, but on an individual-to-individual basis, this is definitely happening.
2) Access to all information (well, just about) via the internet has changed the way that people consume information. We all tend to skim more, look for key points and get through information faster today.
3) Shorter communications are often preferred. Twitter with its 140 characters is a perfect example of this. The phase, ‘less is more” seems to be in vogue. I have had many people tell me to give them a “one pager”.
4) We are now two+ generations into everyone watching TV. Huge parts of the workforce have grown up watching TV and being exposed to millions of images.
5) More Cameras. Almost everyone today has a camera with them at all times. It is easier to live in a visual world when anyone can take a picture of anything at any given time and share this with the world.
6) Texting, although it still uses the tools of language has become more and more image-based. A “?” when texted to someone means, “I have a question.”