This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

October 9, 2016

Why people don't read on Social Media, and why you shouldn't expect them to

Social Media apps, like Facebook and Instagram, are a lot of fun. They keep friends and family connected, and allow people to share photos of ordinary stuff. Or rather, the most wonderful stuff in the world - sunsets, cats, babies, that sort of thing.

Back before being able to show photos became so easy, before the days of camera phones, Social Media was more about reading and writing. In fact, before Facebook, there were web pages that people visited that just had strings of text, and they talked back and forth. It was called "chatting". Many people still like that kind of stuff, but less and less all of the time.

I've been following the latest technology all of my life. I've seen things get invented, like the internet, and have watched how people use it. Of course, a lot of old-timers grumble that it's all being used the wrong way, and want to insist that people learn to use it correctly, gul-darn it! And where I notice it the most is that people don't read. They don't read captions, they don't read comments. They just look at the pictures. And that's fine, because that's what they're supposed to do.

I'm a visual person. As a Graphic Designer, if you hand me something that looks like an IRS form, I'll set it aside "for later". Yeah, I'll never read it. Well, maybe if it's the instructions on how to pick up my lottery winnings, OK. But mostly I want pictures. I want drawings, I want photos. I call them "images".

So if you're using Social Media, focus on images. Show a photo of your dog, show some flowers that you've been growing. Don't write a lot there. If you show a photo of yourself falling off a cliff last year, don't expect people to read the caption. They will see the photo and wonder if you're OK?

Social Media isn't a place to go on and on and on... A blog is. And it's a different audience. Sure, you may want people to take the time to let you explain, but that's not how Social Media works. On Social Media, especially Instagram, take a photo, do a hashtag, and post it.

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