Social media networks that largely depend on photos are rising in popularity for both number of user accounts and activity of current members. Example networks to illustrate the trend are Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Facebook's Timeline design illustrates the move toward images, while Instagram and Pinterest offer users ways to share high-quality photos and continue to see more visitors monthly.
Social media networks that focus on photos are on the rise in terms of number of users and network user activity. Examples are Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram. Posts that embed high-quality photos, which are grabbed by the social networks upon posting, are therefore more likely to do well on these sites.
The popularity of the three photo-based social media networks indicates the trend toward beautiful, eye-catching photos. The trends for each network explain the importance of using photos in media that is shared on the online platforms.
When Facebook launched its Timeline design in late 2011, the social media redesign marked a move to putting more attention on images. With the Timeline, photos became more pronounced on the profile page. Both personal and business pages got a facelift.
Facebook product Chief Sam Lessin explains that the inspiration for the Timeline came from scrapbooks and concepts of nostalgia and memories were major influences for the project. Photos evoke memories and are easy for network users to both comment on and share with others. There is also not the time investment of reading complete articles.
Since the photo-based Timeline featured rolled out, Facebook page engagement has risen drastically. While the site saw an original dip when Timeline first launched, Facebook is today the largest social media site in the world. There are close to one billion users worldwide and over 163,000,000 users in the United States alone!
With photos at the core of the current page design, Facebook users upload and engage heavily with images on the social media network.
The picture sharing and social network Instagram has exploded in popularity since its launch in October 2010. Number of users continues to climb since Instagram was purchased by Facebook in April of 2012.
The social media network is dependent on photos as the user takes a photo with an iPhone, enhances the image with possible effects, titles and tags it, and then shares the photo to the site. The movements are fast-paced and popularity is evident.
Instagram’s popularity has risen quickly. In December 2010, just two months after the site launch, there were already one million accounts. That number rose to five million in June 2011 and then 30 million in April 2012.
Instagram is a great example of the popularity of social media networks that focus on photos. The fact that Facebook purchased the company so soon into its development further strengthens this statement.
On Pinterest, users download and share “Pins” or images to “Boards” or collections on the social media network. The image bookmarking site launched in March 2010.
While there are articles, poetry and other media behind the photos, the glossy images are what catch users’ eyes and prompts them to share and delve further into the photo source by clicking on them. Recipes in particular are popular as visually stunning dishes are accompanied by remarks posted below photos. Recipe photos account for 30 percent of Pinterest conversations.
Popularity of photo-based Pinterest is shown in its rise of traffic. In July 2012, Pinterest was third to Facebook and Twitter for traffic! There were 119 million visits to the network in July alone! The number of visitors rose 50 percent in February 2012 from the previous month.
The examples of Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest illustrate that social media networks that focus on photos are rising in popularity amongst online users. Images that are high-quality and clear, rather than fuzzy and grainy in quality, are more likely to be visually appealing to site users.