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February 5, 2015
Instagram 300 vs Twitter 271. Not a basketball score, rather monthly (million) active users. Instagram is bigger than Twitter. This is no doubt driven by people’s desire to express their creative side, or maybe just about people bored with merely expressing themselves in text. Either way, if “a picture is worth a thousand words” is of course true, this is also a microcosm of the ongoing shift of all media platforms to the use of more image and video-based storytelling. Whether that be mag and news publishers creating more video editorial, advertisers and brands creating branded video, so called “visual radio” (is that not TV?!), or Facebook and Twitter racing to add more video to their services – video is core to the future of storytelling and social engagement alike. And what about Chat vs Social? Did you shake your head all last year and wonder how ridiculous the concept of disappearing messages are? As explained in a great piece by Mathew Ingram on Gigaom, part of the reason that the ephemeral nature of chat platforms works so well is for psychological reasons, but also because they reflect real life face to face interactions much more naturally. You can read the whole article here, but in summary someone posting on traditional social platforms like Facebook is under a certain amount of psychological and/or emotional pressure for the simple reason that it involves a kind of public performance, and one that remains online forever. Sometimes you may want your photos or status updates to fulfil that extrovert role, but often you may rather they didn’t form part of a lifelong record of your interactions. Texts and Snapchats can inherently involve something more fleeting, whether it’s an emotion, a reflection, or a reaction to a moment in time. You might Snapchat a photo or a video clip in order to make someone laugh, or as a kind of wink, or to create a quick shared moment between two people. And because it inevitably disappears, you don’t have to think about it too much and it is possibly more natural. Like a real verbal conversation that is not (usually!) recorded, the ephemerality of the service allows for a certain kind of freedom and a more natural responsive interaction. So – we love video and photos, but we also love the liberty to be free to chat rather than the pressure to perform all the time.