Two weeks ago, Silicon Valley trendspotter Mary Meeker released her 2013 Internet Trends report. The headline? In 2014, she expects that 1 billion photos will be uploaded and shared on the Internet each day. That is a staggering figure, largely driven by the rapid growth of Snapchat and Instagram, with Facebook continuing its steady role as the shared photo album for friends and family. Today, about 500 million photos are uploaded each day.
Surprised? I’m not. Technology has just made it easier to do what we have been doing all along. Pictures have enhanced human storytelling since our earliest days. At least 30,000 years before human beings developed written language, we painted elaborate images on cave walls. Thousands of years later, those pictures still stir the human heart.
Today, we look at smart phone screens, not cave walls. Images dominate today’s information landscape. The technology we have today confirms the power that pictures hold in capturing our imagination and our attention. Humans use pictures to transcend language, convey meaning and evoke emotion – it is the lingua franca. Today, powerful images inspire people to care for others a world away and to galvanize people to heroic action.
So, why wait? Upload that great photo to Facebook!
More Lab Reports ahead!
Looking for more reasons why visuals rule? Our Seeing is Believing guide represents only a piece of the available research on visual communication. Over the next few months, our Visual Story Lab will release more Lab Reports about the science behind images. We’re excited to share what we’ve learned with you so that your organization can harness the power of effective visuals to inspire action. Welcome to the laboratory!