News | 25/03/2012

The future for social media is insight

Posted by Lawrence Greenlee

They used to say a picture is worth a thousand words, but now perhaps the saying a picture is worth 146 characters is more accurate.

Twitter marked a milestone last week as it celebrated its sixth birthday with a number of influential tweeters using their pages to wish the social media site a happy birthday.

The appearance of twitter today is notably different and somewhat more advanced from its launch days. Today its popularity appears to be still growing with over 140 million active users, including celebrities and world leaders.

Twitter’s initial appeal was that you could say whatever you were thinking or feeling in 146 characters. Apparently that is all you need to rant about the world. It’s quick, it’s convenient and you can tweet on the go as many times as you want in one day without, hopefully, driving people mad. It is more socially acceptable in the world of twitter to be constantly active on someone’s feed than it is on facebook, where you feel pressure not to overuse.

But now it seems that even 146 characters are too many to be deemed convenient enough to express how you’re feeling. People are instead displaying their emotions visually and posting images for all to see.

Society’s love for images seems to have grown considerably within the last year with the launch of applications such as Instagram and Pinterest.

Instagram in particular has seen a rise in users, and was created to do three simple things. Capture an image, manipulate an image and distribute that image through various channels, such as Twitter and Facebook. Instagram was already on to a winner as people were using the service to make their images more visually interesting and then sharing it with an established list of followers on Twitter. Now with over 27 million users the concept seems to be working.

Following on from the success of Instagram, it appears there’s a new kid in town called Pinterest. This kid will ‘pin’ anything and everything.

Pinterest is a concept where people pin pictures based on their emotions. There is very little thinking involved and when you are fed up of seeing news feeds full of moaning and boasting, pinterest provides a light relief. You can create mood boards based on your loves, hates and generally on anything you feel like. Others members can then ‘repin’ this if they like it, share it, or comment without feeling the opinion they are expressing is solely their own. People can share common ground without being judged.

Brands are using sites such as Instagram and Pinterest to promote themselves and their products in a different way. Posting a picture to a network of followers drives them to comment and retweet to a wider audience. The user can interact with the brand allowing a form of advertising which is proving hugely successful. The public feel like they are getting an insight behind the scenes, viewing new products before the newspapers or magazines even get a chance to print them. A sneak peek behind a catwalk show of one of the models in the hottest trends, or a live image from a red carpet event, allows viewers to feed their celebrity culture habit.

With a staggering 80% of pins being repined in comparison to 1.4% of tweets being retweeted, maybe Instagram and Pinterest will be celebrating their sixth birthdays before we know it.