Monday, July 18, 2011

Word of Photo--How Digital Pictures are Changing the Way We Consume

Here's a mobile pic of my La Shrimp Curry Crepe at Pates et Traditions that I ate this weekend

What is "Word of Photo"? Word of Photo is a phrase I created to describe how we pass information from one to many through pictures, and how what we buy, eat, attend, etc. is influenced by digital pictures. In the last year, I've noticed a huge influx of people documenting everything they eat or cook through pictures and posting them on Facebook or Twitter. While this may be detrimental for dieters, I find it highly useful in figuring out where and what to eat. Plus, posting pictures of mouth watering food is a huge advertising advantage for food and beverage businesses. Gone are the days where we verbally ask: "What's a good restaurant?", when we can now Facebook status update, tweet, Google or yelp that question and get just as good or even better of an answer instantly.

In the battle between Word of Mouth and Word of Photo, the latter wins. As the saying "a picture is worth a thousand words" goes--a picture can communicate a thousand times quicker than text and often times more powerfully. Especially today with smartphone cameras, pictures play a much bigger part in the way we communicate daily. Living life through photos can be seen in the popularity of photo-based blog Tumblr, Twitter picture-sharing sites like TwitPic and mobile picture apps like Instagram. Word of Mouth is person to person communication, while Word of Photo is one to many... you tell me which one spreads faster.

As an emerging media enthusiast/integrated marketing nerd, the opportunity in "word of photo" communication or real-time mobile pic sharing excites me!!! Can't wait to see how Entertainment, Food/Beverage and Retail Brands incorporate picture sharing into their marketing strategies. However, I do have qualms about "digital over sharing"and the effect it has on real-life experiences (here's a NY Mag article with a strong argument against about taking photos at restaurants), but I'll save that rant for a future blog post.

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