2012: The Year of the Photo


Social media is just plain oversaturated. Some networks are almost impossible to cut through now because of all the clutter. I don’t have a hope of reading everything the people I follow on Twitter say each day, and at the same time I’m not sure I’d even want to. I only say all this to set the stage for my social media prediction for 2012.

2012 will be the year of the photo – and I should add short film as well. What does that mean? It means that you will see more pictures and visually captivating material than ever before. The social bookmarking site Pinterest will erupt, Facebook and Google+ (yeah, it’s going to be huge) will adapt their platforms to be even more visually-centric, Instagram will grow tremendously, and Twitter may struggle.

So the question becomes, “Why do you think this will happen?” It all goes back to my original statement and an old adage:

Social media is oversaturated -and- a picture is worth a thousand words.

With the amount of messages we are subjected to each day, we immediately begin filtering. We decide on the spot what’s important to pay attention to and what we can skip over. At the same time, I tend to believe that most people would rather watch a 2:30 video on your company or cause than read your “About” page.

Even Twitter text, at a mere 140 characters, is hard to get through. The fact that they’ve redesigned the site to bring photo and video inline is a sign that they are seeing the trend as well. On the other hand, I can scroll through Pinterest in only a matter of minutes. Our minds are wired to fill in the blanks. We see things and relate them to our own knowledge and experience nearly subconsciously. We see a green sign on the corner and immediately know it’s a Starbucks, recall our favorite drink, remember a funny story from the last time we visited, decide when we want to go there again, and then blink.

So what does this mean for advertisers? I think it means two things. One, you’ve got to figure out how to communicate with your customers and potential customers in a more personal way. You can’t just cast the net out wide and hope to bring something in. It’s got to be intentional and it’s got to be human. Second, you need to think clearly through your imagery. Think about the message you want to send and let that speak in the photography and videos you create. Tell the story.

Remember, I’m not saying that text is dead. That would be stupid. There’s heaps of quality content out there, with even more created daily. It’s just the distribution mechanism that’s a little broken.

Now it’s time for you to weigh in. Would you rather scroll through a “Pinterest” or a “Twitter”?

Thanks for reading.


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  • InstaPin

    AGreed on the image-heavy trends. I am an Instagram fiend right now. Working Pinterest almost by default. The people I follow on Pinterest unfortunately are girls that re-pin every fashion photo or closeup of lip gloss/toenail polish they come across. Waiting for some dudes to step up.

    • http://twitter.com/dustinrey Dustin Reynolds

      Thanks for the comment. Yeah, there are a lot of women on Pinterest right now, which is actually a pretty strong draw for marketers looking for that specific demo. My favorite thing to look at right now is photos taken by wedding photographers. I love photography, so seeing the stuff people come up with is just awesome to me.