Hey look, a picture of a bird…

…and a clown, a bedroom and a ball of rubber bands.rubberbands No explanations required right?

The social media’s (SM) trend of pictures…lots and lots of “preferred” pictures, may have tough implications on SM activity for advice brands (i.e bloggers, consultants, etc.).  How do you sell consulting/advisory skills with a picture? If SM networks like Pinterest continue to blow past their competitors (e.g. Linked-In, FaceBook, YouTube, etc.), online dialogue won’t be about what’s written anymore but about the catchy media displayed (e.g. rubberband ball) The recent statistics for Pinterest are staggering.  For example, Pinterest drives more referral traffic than Google+, Linked-In and YouTube combined!  In years to come, consultants (advice/data types) including blogging gurus (yipes), may have difficulties communicating on the web’s ever shrinking world of just pictures and bullet only blogs.

Is one picture really worth one-thousand words?  This original to the US phrase (not really Chinese or Japanese), emerged early in the 20th Century.  A bit of foreshadowing here maybe, but it’s seems to be a SM trend running away with itself.  This may be happening because there IS psychological proof that the “one picture” phrase bears merit.PictureWorthwords

In 1987 a couple of cognitive science professionals Larkin and Simon (L&S) did research on Why a diagram is (sometimes) worth ten thousand words and the effects imagery v. words have on the human response.  And for those who need to know, their data is also referenced in a study by Paula Goolkasian titled Pictures, Words and Sounds: From Which Format Are We Best Able to Reason? found in the 2000 Journal of General Psychology. Well it seems their data suggested pictures DO provide a more direct access to information when compared with printed words. Reaction time responses showed a consistent picture advantage (Pinterest folks will love this!). YouTube may be winning online users too, simply because these cognitive studies also suggested that when participants responded to materials stored in human memory, both pictured and spoken (i.e. movies) formats provided quicker responses in comparison to printed words.

Advice/data brand experts DO have several opportunities to suppress the one-hit-wonder picture craze and also take advantage of it.  Did you catch it in the previous paragraph? One picture may be worth one-thousand words but per L&S a diagram is worth TEN-thousand!  By combining well researched data with fantastic visuals, advice brands may be able to capture 10x the response of their picture-only sellers of product.

Clown ThinkerInfographics combined with in-depth social technographics may provide non-widget companies the perfect combination of online imagery needed to sell their professional services.  In recent years I’ve heard the generic complaint humans are getting lazier about reading stuff online (reading F-shaped pattern only)…bring on the clown pictures please because I don’t want to read about them.

But, what if an industry specific image was combined with appropriate statistics and an infographic carefully created? THAT bit of data visualization may be worth its weight in unread content by the follower.

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