Worth A Thousand Words
I returned from vacation yesterday and while I was away I took a lot of photos on my iPhone. This got me thinking about the value of images in social media. They capture so much, so quickly. And, technology today allows us to take pictures and share them instantly with only one device. There is a lot of potential for higher education to interact on a visual basis with all of its populations thanks to the ease of photo sharing through social media.
I wrote about this topic recently in the Career Services Professionals Group on LinkedIn, but another example of how interactive images are came across my plate while I scanned Mashable today. Mashable readers were challenged to send in photos of weather from where they were all over the globe. Given the global nature of higher education today, with universities like NYU setting up branch campuses in the Middle East, photo submissions from students and alumni of activities around campus or in their lives post-graduation can bring a great sense of community that transcends national borders. Transcending boundaries and restrictions of traditional communication mediums is one of the best parts about social media.
A fantastic example of a university-wide photo sharing event comes from University of Pennsylvania’s Day in the Life project.
On April 12th, 2012, Penn’s Office of Communications had students, staff and any other willing Penn member take photos from morning until night to document a day in the life. Penn’s Day in the Life photo project showcased the variety of activities and diverse perspectives that take place on the same campus daily. The photos were collected and added to the university’s Flickr page for all to see. I think this is a great demonstration of how much an institution can value each and every perspective of their community. My only criticism is photos were taken largely with professional cameras. Granted, this ensured quality photos, but it restricted access to those with such cameras. If they accepted submissions from smartphone holders, it could increase the diversity of perspectives and add a more spontaneous and interactive element.
Photo sharing has a lot of potential within our social media world. More platforms today are created with photo sharing in mind. It is important for social media professionals within higher education to leverage this functionality. In a world restricted by character limits, where concise statements are the norm/necessity, a picture is truly worth a thousand words because it let’s us share so much by saying so little.