We at Owl Marketing are out and out wordy nerds, and just last week spent our lunch hour at a talk from the Assistant Editor of New Words at the Oxford English Dictionary at Oldham Library, we were on the edge of our seats! We regularly moot the finer points of the semicolon, and have to hold back often when we see a misused apostrophe. But we do acknowledge that the written word doesn't float everyone's boat. And whilst we love a well constructed sentence and well-placed apostrophes, we also appreciate that what you see is as important as what you read. And that’s why we also love great design, beautiful photography and art. There's no more therapeutic sight than standing looking out to sea and watching the breakers, and a great photo or picture of said view can transport you away. The other day my niece showed me her classroom and it was a feast for the eyes, so visually rich and vibrant, full of colours, shapes, textures, dangly things and glitter – and far removed from the A is for Apple wall pictures of my school days.
While I'm a bit of a word nerd, Mr Liz Lancs is dyslexic. I read the dictionary for fun, he forgets his address. He draws me diagrams of electrical circuits, my eyes glaze over and I'm only woken by the sound of my own snoring. But despite our very different skills we somehow manage to agree on most things. Except social media. He understands the power of it, but writing 'stuff' just doesn't interest him.
A couple of years ago he mentioned how good it would be if there was a social network that was purely visual – no writing needed. He said he wanted a network where he could post his photos, funny pictures he'd found on the internet, a particular colour he was loving at that time, and anything that caught his eye. Well they do say hindsight is a brilliant thing, but if only he'd done something about it, he'd have been the creator of Pinterest and attracting gazillions in investment right now.
Pinterest has hit on that thing that the internet was invented for (no, not that)...images. Twitter is concise, to the point, and a great learning and sharing tool. Google Plus makes it easy for you to box off your friends, family, acquaintances and work colleagues so your boss will never see you swearing like Catherine Tate's Nan character. And LinkedIn makes it easy to connect to colleagues and clients and talk shop.
Pinterest fulfills something none of these sites do and captures the needs of visually responsive people. Pinterest is a pinboard where the user can ‘pin’ all the interesting images and pictures they find on the internet and allow others to see the pinboard. Other users can comment on your pin or repin your content onto their pinboard. Repinned content must be credited, back to the original source if possible, and all of your own content you post, you retain the rights to. Not only is it ideal for visually stimulated people, but businesses such as cake decorators, graphic designers, photographers, retailers and consumer goods companies can show off their wares with a Pinterest board. Some big brands such as Dell, Virgin, Starbucks and McDonald's are already on there and sharing pictures of their products and associated content.
Facebook has also recently made the move to become more visual by updating its Pages. The new timeline style Page makes photographs and pictures more prominent, there is also a new cover picture on Pages, content can be pinned to the top of the page for up to seven days to make it stay at the top and videos can be played while staying on Facebook (it doesn't navigate away).
There's an old saying about a picture painting a thousand words and sometimes it's true. Could da Vinci have captured Mona Lisa's secret smile as sublimely in an essay? I don't think so, but ironically, the sentiment can only be expressed in words.