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These Days, a Picture Is Worth More Than 1,000 Words

By Susanne Intriligator

LovestatehouseUUSC

“The web is visual.” If you follow media trends at all, then you’ve heard this refrain again and again over the last few years: “It’s all about the visuals.”

And you’ve seen on your favorite websites. As visually-based platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and Twitter grow and grow – right along with our ability to capture and share images instantly – the social web is flooded with competing visual content.

According to Buzzfeed, every minute web users are:

  • Uploading 208,300 photos to Facebook
  • Liking 510,000 photos on Instagram
  • Uploading 100 hours of video to YouTube

Why? Because we humans like it. Psychological research shows that human brains process images 60,000 times faster than text, and we remember information presented visually far more accurately.

Moreover, giving people what they like works – web users interact with visuals at much higher rates. According to Jessica Gioglio, co-author of The Power of Visual Storytelling, “Posts with an album or photo drive up to 180% more engagement than those without, and viewers spend 100% more time on web pages with videos.”

What does it mean for UUs?

If we want people to hear our life-giving message, we need to learn to compete within these visual media.

Does your congregation’s (or UU organization’s) website feature vibrant images? Does it show smiling, diverse UUs of all ages in action – worshiping, learning, singing, hugging, marching, and having fun?

How about your Facebook page – are you sharing great new images at least weekly?

Do you have a robust photo permissions policy in place that allows you to share great photos on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and more?

We need to cooperate strategically, in order to collect and curate and share our most compelling images, so that more people can see our life-giving message in action.