A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words (Chapter 9)

Posted on July 9, 2011


And if you like that picture, I have about 150 more from our vacation in New England that I can show you.  In the olden days (when I was a kid), you used to invite your friends to your house for dinner and spring a slideshow presentation of your family vacation upon them.  Inevitably, people were polite and listened intently as you explained each and every picture, but they definitely thought twice before accepting another invitation to your house.  Well, thank goodness, the pressure is off!  Now, thanks to the many photo sharing websites online, your friends and family can peruse your pictures at their own free will.  Amazingly, if you are like me, you do!  I love looking at other people’s pictures.  Perhaps it is because I can go through them at my own pace and without all the long stories, but looking at photos is one of my favorite online pastimes.

As I’ve done with most of the chapters so far in The Social Media Bible, I thought of two different scenarios as I contemplated photo sharing.  First, I envisioned how I would use this in my personal life.  Until now, all of my photo sharing has been done via Facebook and occasionally Twitter.  I’ve used Shutterfly a couple of times when ordering prints online, but that is about it.  Recently, one of our home computers was infected with a nasty virus that completely wiped out EVERYTHING.  My most computer-techie friend managed to retrieve most of our photos, but I’ve thought about how I should be saving photos online.  Plus, putting a link on my blog would be a great way to share pictures with friends/family.

Secondly, I thought about how I will use photo-sharing websites for a future job.  Safko often makes suggestions for retail businesses with products, customers, and a typical sales mentality.  I hope to work for a non-profit organization when I finish my masters degree.  If my future organization is anything like the ones I’ve been working with for the past decade, they may not have “products.”  How, then, can photo sharing help promote a non-profit organization?

“Sales” looks different with non-profits, but they are definitely selling something.  They are selling an idea, belief or value to a potential donor.  Donors need to see how their money can make a difference.  Habitat for Humanity is an organization that I can envision myself working for someday.  Their website includes photos of staff, volunteers, housing projects and the families they have helped (see the pictures at http://www.tchabitat.org/summer2011).  The pictures really do a say a thousand words.  Happy faces of people who have been helped, alongside copy that tells their story from tragedy to triumph, pull at the heart-strings of potential donors.  Wherever I end up, I’m sure that using pictures to sell the “idea” will be key in our social media strategy.