I think it’s funny how the internet pundits advise us these days with all seriousness to notice the amazing fact: pictures are proving to ‘engage’ more people than plain text updates! This apparently astonishing revelation led Facebook to Instagram, Twitter to all the picture apps out there, LinkedIn to its new love affair with images in many sections of your profile, Google Plus to its ridiculously enormous cover images.
The excitement around the discovery that images are highly appealing is testimony to dreadful dumbing down – and watering down! – of our internet experience.
Gee guys, I’m not surprized people like pictures; so does every toddler. Pictures are accessible eye-candy, and comfortably vague compared to text. A picture brands you without saying too much. It’s easy to appreciate a picture without thinking.
Though supposedly ‘worth a thousand words,’ a picture usually doesn’t get translated. You either like it or don’t or don’t care. An image is a relatively uncomplicated thing.
Of course, I am just as entertained by pictures as you are. But the social media trend is beginning to show its limitations. My Facebook news feed is so clogged with ‘image-ized’ quotes and cat pictures that it’s hardly worth going there.
Understandably, internet marketers want to help those who persistly ask, “What should I post on social media?” The Images Solution that’s roared to universal popularity in the past year or so is such a quick and easy answer that it seems almost magical.
Except it’s dumb. It’s a non-solution. The question is, ”What should I post on social media?” not “What’s the most widely palatable, easily forgettable, non-statement I can make on social media?” The question is not, “How can I pad my timeline with meaningless content?”
By all means, use images in your posts whenever possible. This is not a rant against images. BUT, it is an objection to the teaching that the best kind of online updating is image-centered.
The content we produce for our online tribes exists for the purpose of helping where help is needed. Ideally, we seek for the best way to provide assistance and our content is a result of that ongoing research.
Instead of asking “What should I post on social media?” we should ask, “Who can I help and how can I help them through my postings on social media?”
Images will very likely be part of your answer to this question. But since you are sincerely interested in becoming an appreciated resource for your connections over the long term, a much larger portion of your content will be text or video: that is, it will be characterized by more complex applications and detailed descriptions beyond the image.
When you ask, “How can I help?” you’re looking for specific ways to have an impact on specific people; your branding is swift and direct; you benefit from your practicality and leave the substance-less eye candy for time-wasters.