Steve Rubel has an interesting article (“The Revolution Won’t Be Televised; It Will Be Instagrammed”) in Ad Age on why, “Photography…is fast becoming the lingua franca of a more global, mobile and social society.”
According to Steve, three things are contributing to this trend:
First, images are global. They eschew all language and cultural boundaries. Photography is the only true universal medium. Nothing comes close.
Second, images are distributable. The bandwidth required to transmit photos is minimal, yet the opportunities for quick, creative expression are plentiful. As of this writing, Apple’s App Store alone has over 10,000 iPhone apps in its photo category — many of them for editing. Photoshopping has been democratized.
Finally, images are digestible. You can glance at a picture for as short or as long as you want. Photos are a non-linear, shared consumption experience. The same can’t be said for video or even text.
He goes on to give three important considerations for content managers when expanding the visual experience for content consumers:
It’s hip to be square. Instagram popularized the notion that square images can be cool. Think in 1:1, not 4:3 ratios.
Become fluent in digital culture. While animated gifs, cartoon balloons, collages and tilt-shift styling may feel trite, they’re the new normal.
Democratize the creative process. The industry embraced crowdsourced video several years ago. However, advertising photography still feels like it’s roped off and treated more as art. Open it up.
It’s refreshing to see someone like Steve validate what we’ve been implementing at Mars Hill Church through our content strategy.
Over the last year, we’ve launched Instagram accounts for Pastor Mark, Mars Hill, and our local churches.
Additionally, we’ve stationed photographers at each service to capture life at Mars Hill and have been doing weekly photo essays, and we’ve made a concerted effort to leverage Facebook and Twitter through Instagram, with pastors, deacons, and volunteers taking photos and posting them in real time during events and services (here’s a good representation of how we’re using the platform).
Finally, we’ve launched a Mars Hill Tumblr to better leverage of our visual assets.
The results have been great, with thousands of followers of these accounts. It’s an easy way for us to share the story of Jesus changing lives at our 14 churches in 4 states and to create a more unified culture.
I’d love to hear how other churches and organizations are using photos. Please share!