Transformation of visual content: from “Look at me!” to “Look at this!”

Visual content is booming on Social Media channels. Most updates on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn walls are photo’s, pictures and infographics uploaded from smartphones or shared from the web. Visual content often gets more awareness and provokes more interaction than written content. That is why platforms like Pinterest and Tumblr focus entirely on visuals – and they grow rapidly. What causes the hype about visual content? And why are Pinterest and Tumblr so successful?

03 Importance Visual Content online Social Media HCIBS Transformation of visual content: from Look at me! to Look at this! by How Can I Be Social (HCIBS)Why is visual content important?

There might be two main reasons for the increasing popularity of visual content. The first is: because we can! Since most people are equipped with smartphones and mobile cameras we can take pictures wherever we are and share them immediately. Platforms like Instagram make it easy to transform and edit your snapshots until they are fancy enough to share with your friends.

Second, visual content is easy to grasp. While it takes you some time to read and process a piece of text, visuals take the highway to your brain – you get the message within a second. Besides, when you scan your news feed with half of your mind somewhere else, an appealing visual is more likely to catch your attention than a written update.

The power of pictures

Certainly, the Social Media Giant Facebook knows too well about the power of pictures. Actually, it considered the visuals are so as important that it made the $736-million purchase of Instagram, the main competitor in mobile photo sharing. Now Tumblr and Pinterest offer the perfect platform for sharing visuals, which seems to be especially attractive for teenagers and female, young adults. While the total amount of Facebook users is declining for several months, Pinterest and Tumblr show a tremendous growth curve. How is this possible?

Tired of “Look at me!”

The reason might be that the content favored by users of Tumblr and Pinterest does not match with Facebook’s ecosystem of content. Good facebook updates are pleasant, funny and especially social activities. On facebook we tell our friends where we are right now, what we are doing there and who is with us – but it is me, who is in the centre of the pictures.

Facebook photos are bound to a certain time, location and activity and contain at least one name tag. Many users love this way of self-presentation. For others, this looks like a fragmented broadcast about the random and absolutely irrelevant activities of some acquaintance.

Interested in “Look at this!”

When you come to Pinterest and Tumblr you will see and feel the visual difference immediately. These visuals are often timeless, they show ‘things’ more often than ‘people’ and they express a certain ‘feeling’ rather than showing an ‘activity’. In these networks nobody cares about who you are, where your are and what you are doing.

Instead, we can focus completely on the content. We can share stuff that we like and it will be shared by others, who like it too. You most often don’t know the people you are following on Pinterest and you will probably never meet them. But it doesn’t matter, because this is not about you or them. It is about the stuff you both like.

What will the future of content production hold for us?

Social networks are not even 10 years old yet but they are evolving more rapidly than any other communicative device before. The visual content that appears on the networks can tell a lot about attitude and mentality of the users, which is valuable information when you design your own online presence. Therefore we will dedicate more blogposts on how to use visual content on social networks for design processes.

How Can I Be Social – A Social Media Checklist for your next conference or event at #EMEC13, Montreux

Gerrit Heijkoop and Donald Roos will take you on a journey that will grow your confidence in how to approach new social technologies when organizing your next meeting or event.

View in external player (Silverlight): http://bit.ly/HCIBSEmec13

07 How Can I Be Social   A Social Media Checklist for your next conference or event at #EMEC13, Montreux by How Can I Be Social (HCIBS)

You can see and download the slides of this session right here:

3 Smart Social Media Lessons – from our own experience at IMEX

Three learnings from the @IMEXSocialTeam reporting from #IMEX12 in Frankfurt

During the IMEX in Frankfurt show in May, the “IMEX Social Team” reported live from the show floor. Our objective was to provide a participant’s perspective in real-time to the rest of the world and to help people with all their questions about social media so they could join the conversation online. In this post we share some of our key learnings for the use of Social Media at live events.

1. Make a connection between online and offline

From a cynical perspective, one could choose to view Twitter as a place where ‘people have a conversation with themselves, hoping that someone will respond’.  A more optimistic perspective sees the platform as a great opportunity to make potentially valuable new connections.  In practice during IMEX this meant the social team scanned the #IMEX12 timeline in order to identify people who were tweeting from the show floor and then we went to look them up and make a personal connection!

“Excuse me Melissa, you have been Tweeting at us, right?!” After a first look of surprise, we were always greeted with a big smile. “Yes indeed! How nice to meet you in real life!”.  Of course this usually led to a ‘photo opportunity’, which then resulted in a tweet, and often a re-tweet quickly thereafter.

Imex Social team Frankfurt 2012 meets Melissa in real life  3 Smart Social Media Lessons   from our own experience at IMEX by How Can I Be Social (HCIBS)We believe it is vital to make a connection between the online and offline worlds at live events. Whether with a personal ‘lookup’ like we did, with a Tweetup Drink like the #EUventprofs community did, or with a physical ‘Tweetingpoint’, often supplied by the organiser. It is often the perfect – and the only – way to make online networking relevant to the offline networking goals and ambitions of a live event.

2. Add a personal touch

We were quite amazed that no less than 40% of our messages were ‘re-tweeted’. This gave us a much larger reach, compared to the 137 followers we collected in the five days we were active. We really made an effort to add a photo and someone’s @username to almost every message which gave a strong incentive to the re-tweeter. This tactic alone, although requiring a bit more work and attention to detail, seemed to be almost a guaranteed recipe for a ‘re-tweet’. Why? Because people love to be in the spotlight!

Imex Social Team Frankfurt 2012 with Ray Bloom  3 Smart Social Media Lessons   from our own experience at IMEX by How Can I Be Social (HCIBS)And they want to tell their friends about it. Have you ever been mentioned in a newspaper when you were a kid? I bet you saved that clipping and showed it to your parents, grandparents, neighbours and classmates didn’t you? For now that principle still seems to hold in the Social Media arena. Our tip: next time you write up a Social Media message, try to add a personal touch to it and see what difference it makes.

3. Integrate with other media

Twitter and live events are made for each other. Due to the fact that all updates are public, it makes it really easy to connect with people at the same event, whether you’ve met them before or not. However, Twitter has a drawback: it still only reaches a minority of your total audience. That is why we strongly believe in integration with other media such as print and e-mail, which are accessible to everyone.

Adding a selection of ‘user generated content’ to your existing editorial media is a reward for the crowd that is already tweeting about your event (see previous learning). And at the same time it will show those who are not yet participating in the online conversation that there is some good stuff going on.  And of course, the more people tweeting about your event, the more exposure and reach you (and your sponsors!) can enjoy.

Imex Social Team Frankfurt 2012  3 Smart Social Media Lessons   from our own experience at IMEX by How Can I Be Social (HCIBS)You’ll be able to see the @IMEXSocialTeam in action again at IMEX America in Las Vegas from October 9th – 11th where we’ll be sponsored by MEXICO.  Don’t forget to send a tweet to @IMEXSocialTeam once you get there. We’ll do our best to find you on the show floor!