“A picture is worth a thousand words…” – the meaning of this common phrase is quite clear. One of the most oldest sources of this phrase is credited to Napoleon Bonaparte who was believed to have said, “A good sketch is better than a long speech”. (Wikipedia)
Wherever it originated from or whoever is credited to having come up with this phrase, it is used in common everyday English language quite frequently to express how a picture or image can more clearly explain or give meaning to some idea, place, object or person.
But what relevance does this phrase have in today’s communication style using social media? I have noticed that Facebook users post many pictures and cartoons and they do elicit many responses and comments from viewers. Sometimes they have text associated with them and sometimes they don’t.
To determine if a picture is indeed worth a thousand words, I thought I would do a little experiment on Facebook. I took a popular news story; in this case, the seperation of immigrant children from their parents and families in detention facilities in the United States. I posted a cartoon and I also posted a link to a CBC news article about the news story to my Facebook account.
The cartoon received 13 reactions:
- 7 thumbs up signs and 6 sad faces
While the CBC article only received 3 reactions (2 thumbs ups and 1 sad face). Did these people actually read the article? I am not sure.
Social media today provides us with so much news and information. Do we have the time to fully read every post and news article that interests us? Or do we just skim posts and comment or click on anything that evokes an emotional response from us?
What happens with the information that we want to save and keep for later? Well, Facebook allows us to share posts which places the post on our page which we can access later. Twitter allows us to re-tweet and thereby saving it on our twitter page. I find this quite useful in saving links to professional articles that I can read later.
With each Facebook post or tweet, there is often a picture associated with it. These pictures can be useful when scrolling through your accounts looking for a specific post. I don’t know how many times I have been looking through my Facebook posts looking for a recipe and the only way I can find it is by looking for the picture of the already prepared food. I have also recently been saving many pictures from Facebook to my gallery so that I can use them at some later opportune time.
Pinterest is a social network which which allows users to save pictures, images, and ideas.
Pictures play an important role in social media today and will continue to do so in the future. The phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” will live on in social media.