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If you’re interested in photography you’re undoubtedly well aware just how visual our society has become today and how that has manifested itself within our wildly connected world. Visual literacy is an important trend for those of us that share a love and passion for imaging.

Look no further than the online social sphere for proof of how visual content is now reigning king as Facebook recently redesigned their news feed and profile pages to make images and videos larger, Twitter now allows for the inclusion of photos and videos within tweets and even Buzzfeed now relies on GIFs and images to bring stories to life.

As the old saying has always implied, seeing is believing and perhaps more important, seeing is engaging.

A few random but relevant statistics appear to clearly be backing the “seeing is believing” notion as, once again, a quick look at what’s happening on social networks is very telling. While we know Facebookers have been busy for years creating and sharing their own visual content, recent research by the Nielsen Norman Group shows they also prefer engaging with brands’ images over other content types.

The research suggests that Facebook posts with an image have an 87 percent interaction rate and a 44% of surveyed consumers said they are far more likely to engage with branded content that contains an image. The Nielsen Norman Group study adds that photo-based content on Instagram is also receiving three times the engagement per post as compared to Facebook.

What does all this visual engagement talk ultimately mean? New York-based mobile marketing guru Lauren Sosik thinks the need for self-expression in consumers is the crux of the trend and that it’s implications are huge.

“We are living in a time where consumers have become visual creators. They are expressing themselves, their individuality, through their images and their online postings, she explained. “It’s not that the memory doesn’t matter, it’s just that their thought process is more about self expression and anything they perceive as potentially catering to this self expression is hugely interesting to them and the marketing world has most certainly caught on.”

Thus many see opportunity within all this visual literacy that’s taking over our psyches these days. “If you’re someone that spends a big chunk of your time seeing the world from behind a camera lens these are very interesting times we’re living in today,” added Long Island photographer Leslie Tiffen. “Our visual sense has always been keen and now it appears that particular skill could be a hot commodity.”

It’s crystal clear today that in this ever-connected, increasingly social world we live in, images and videos are fast becoming crucial elements of storytelling and of digital marketing in general. And, simply stated, if you’re a photographer that’s sweet music. This entire notion of being a “visual creator” is an interesting one and, more important, one that should have you thinking more like a “storyteller” and perhaps a bit less like a photographer looking for work.

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