Uh-oh. You need a candid camera!
Till the movies came along, if you couldn’t read, you had no access to other worlds or knowledge. Traditionally our education and work systems have also rewarded those who have excellent written skills. (In the Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences this is referred to as Verbal/Lingual)
There was a brief interval of a few years when a limited vocabulary or articulation became acceptable - when ‘SMS” lingo started to take over thanks to increasing communication through channels such as SMS, Email and Chats. People from earlier generations bemoaned that the youth couldn’t write and didn’t seem to care about it.
Looking back though that was just a minor blip, a course change taking place in the evolution of communication. Because an even bigger transformation has happened - the world has gone visual! With the drop of computing cost and bandwidth coupled with the ease of digitization, it has become much cheaper and easier than ever before to communicate in pictures.
If you look at the communication platforms available you’ll see the dichotomy. On Facebook you will see a few people posting original written content, and links to articles, but you’ll see many more sharing pictures and videos. As per SocialSkinny ( http://thesocialskinny.com/100-social-media-statistics-for-2012/ )“ In just 20 minutes, over 1 million links are shared, 1.8 million statuses are updated, 2.7 million photos are uploaded, 2.7 million messages are sent and 10.2 million comments are made” Paul Writer’s Facebook page gets considerably more interest when pictures and cartoons are posted.
Videos are of course the hottest growing media segment - comScore Video Metrix service showed that “180 million U.S. Internet users watched 36.6 billion online content videos in May. Video ads posted another month of record-breaking gains, surpassing the 10-billion mark for the first time on record.” http://www.comscore.com/Press_Events/Press_Releases/2012/6/comScore_Releases_May_2012_U.S._Online_Video_Rankings
Twitter remains mostly a bastion of the lingual types though Twitpic is gaining popularity. Outside of the celebs & their fan clubs, Twitter has a predominance of media, advertising, and marketing types which would be explained by their natural affinity to words.
The biggest development in the visualization of communication is the rise of Pinterest, a tool which allows you to ‘pin’ pictures - either your own or from the internet - onto a virtual ‘board’ that gets shared with other likeminded people. Pinterest does not share data on how many users it has, but according to comScore, the site had 18.7 million unique visitors in March, compared with about 418,000 in May.
So what does this mean for marketers and people like me who don’t think visually? Just that when you think of a communication piece, you also have to think of a visual component.
Simple tips are:
- If you’re doing a conference, live Tweeting is great but you should also add photos to Facebook. If you can afford it, livestream the video too
- In addition to print and radio advertising, add a YouTube video to the mix, even if you’re not doing TV ads
- Add webinars to your marketing outreach
- Make your website more pictorial and video friendly
- Use infographics in your articles
- And personally, force yourself to start using pictures - share cartoons and visuals on Facebook and set up your Pinterest account. (See my fledgling attempt to think visually http://pinterest.com/jessiepaul/)
If you’re a lingual person, it’s almost like teaching yourself a new language. If you’re a visual thinker then forget all the relearning that has happened over the years, and express yourself!
And my advice to everyone, Smile! You might be on camera!