Right now, your eyes are scanning for relevant information that may enrich your repertoire. Preferably, in an enjoyable format that contains one or more highly illustrative pictures. Subconsciously, your brain might be saying: “I seek images that convince me to read that article until the end.”
Is this the “imagetelling age”?
As we know, communication through images preceded the communication through text: cave paintings existed long before the first written records. Throughout history, images have been used for everything from flags to decoration, featuring artistic, ideological or emotional content. Images have the ability to tacitly transmit messages and concepts.
This is the twenty-first century. In the era of the Internet and the speed of information, nothing resonates as effectively as images. Check out any website or social network to see how content featuring images garners more engagement than that which is purely textual. Images add substantial value to contemporary content. Take a look at the success of social networks, such as Instagram, Pinterest, Flickr, among many others. Not to mention memes and infographics that transform data into palatable information. Even Twitter has adapted to that new reality, allowing users to share images as well, instead of just 140 characters.
Textual content tends to be much more accurate since it encompasses description and narration. Images, in turn, allow for assimilating concepts in a more abstract way and are subjective based on the viewers’ cultural background, values and opinions. There are countless examples of campaigns that have been recalled for using pictures deemed offensive by society. However, what some consider offensive is not necessarily offensive to others.
Storytelling that goes beyond words is a technique that should be increasingly adopted by all media professionals. Think about the story you want to tell and define whether it will be more appealing to the target audience if it’s printed, visual, transmitted by audio, or by any other format, and then share it on every possible channel.
Challenges that communicators may face include the need to go beyond content management systems that still favor text, printing and, at best, on static images. Another issue is finding professionals who not only know how to tell interesting stories to different audiences, but who are also able to develop web content, edit audio and video and analyze data.
In a world where people, companies and brands fight for the attention of their target audiences in the midst of a sea of information, storytelling through images is not enough anymore. One should know how, when and – above all – where to use them. Common sense and interactivity have always walked hand in hand, and this is true now more than ever.
Image credit: www.crossfitlondon.ca