It seems to me we have reached a stage where the image is more important than the word. We haven’t arrived at a post literate society – the written word isn’t going anywhere any time soon –but we do have the ability to create images and video with greater density of meaning than ever before. Even more significantly, we can create them easily and share them widely.
Have you noticed the explosion of infographics? Our minds can absorb an incredible amount of information at glance. I saw a great demonstration of that at the MRIA conference when Alli Marshall flashed a graphic on the screen for just a second. Everyone could identify that the circle showed an 80/20 relationship. We are immersed in data, hungry for meaning, yet also impatient and pressed for time. Infographics in their many forms have the power to rapidly deliver both data and meaning. Here’s some links to my favourite sites exploring some of the best:
Video is another powerful way to share information. Chris Anderson has a terrific TED talk on the subject.
Not only are we showing and telling overtly in a video, but we impart a great deal of information through our tone, expression and body language. With video cameras in our phones and YouTube at our fingers, creating and sharing video has grown exponentially. Have you seen the infographic on YouTube stats released last year? More than 13 million hours of video were uploaded during 2010 and 48 hours of video are uploaded every minute, resulting in nearly 8 years of content uploaded every day. We are sharing information and meaning at an incredible pace.
The power of the visual is a potent tool for anyone working in research or data analytics. The challenge working with infographics is to distil the essentials and deliver meaning not just facts. The challenge with video is letting subjects speak for themselves while ensuring the salient surfaces. To communicate meaning, we must mediate information and data and become story tellers.
I have been exploring harnessing the power of images and video to share consumer insights with marketers and more effectively bridge the gap between information and meaning. I put the data and the videos from my FACESofCHANGE:Youth study together in a PREZI for the recent MRIA and Banff World Media conferences. Check out this dynamic alternative to powerpoint and take a tour of my prezi. It’s a format that begs for powerful visuals, beautifully supports the use of video and focuses the mind on compelling story telling.