May 4, 2012

How to communicate emotion

I was thinking about writing this post yesterday, well before I saw this graphic depicting communication styles through the ages. Provided by, one can see that we have long shared stories and that those stories have been largely accentuated by pictures, beginning with, you guessed it, cave paintings.

Please click to enlarge

My take on the picture and infographic medium is much less historic. Actually, it might even be considered a rant. You see, some of my Facebook friends have become oversharers of tacky pictures embedded with motivational sayings, unbelievable claims, political and religious messages and jokes, both good and bad. Sometimes I want to scream at them to please stop; and sometimes I just smile or shake my head. Always, I move on.

Putting my rant aside, it should be fairly easy to grasp that the old saying, " a picture is worth a thousand words," is alive and well and living in the social media sphere. Service clubs like Optimist International, Rotary, Kiwanis and Lions are just beginning to accumulate written stories about the good deeds that are performed by their clubs and club members around the world. I was wondering what would happen if they were to give up on the collection of stories and publish pictures instead?

Pinterest has grown on the premise that the pictures are the story.  While I am still undecided on the ethics  or legality of pinning and repinning what may be copyrighted material, I started a few pinboards because one can't understand the issues if she only participates from the sidelines.

But what if the aforementioned organizations, and others, were to generate visual content and then extend the rights to republish it with attribution to their members? Think of the great awareness that would snowball through the ranks of the organization and around the world.

Pictures evoke emotion. Organizations, especially service clubs, thrive on the emotional connection that members have with its purpose. As potential members, we want to see what it looks like to be involved. As members, we want to have our positive feelings reinforced.

As advocates, activists and recruiters to our causes, we want content to share and the easier that content is to share, the better. Pictures, as Facebook and Pinterest have confirmed, are easy to share.
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