Our society has become so infatuated with pictures as a way to convey everything. Pictures of our food, our kids, scenery, friends, and more… Just check out Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook, SnapChat, Flickr, Twitter and the rest…

If a picture is worth a 1000 words, why do we now add words to our pictures and call them memes? 

So many people are making notes on the Facebook about no one reads any more and you’re supposed comment on their post to stay their friend. It’s a social experiment of sorts. I never comment on those posts, though I usually read them and pass by. 

I think by focusing so much on the picture, we lose the depth of thought that comes from words. Words bring clarity and understanding, conveying our deepest beliefs. 

Wired.com article states, “…text still dominates online information exchange. The vast majority of activities we do online are still fundamentally based on reading text: social media, news, search, e-mail, product reviews and many others. It has been estimated that more than 80% of the activities we do online are text-based. While many of these online activities are enhanced by multimedia content, the bulk of the information still comes from text, and that’s unlikely ever to change.”

As for origin, it may be Chinese or Japanese, but according to Phrases.org, in north America, newspaper editor Arthur Brisbane to the Syracuse Advertising Men’s Club, in March 1911: “Use a picture. It’s worth a thousand words.”

Pictures convey information more efficiently and effectively than words do. It’s much easier to learn how machines work by looking at pictures, rather than by hearing someone describe them. The newspaper editor decided to devote more space to photographs of the disaster than to text, since a picture is worth a thousand words. idioms.thefreedictionary.com

It depends, actually, on what the picture is about. Some pictures can show us the truths which, sometimes, are even impossible to explain by words, for instance, the pictures that show the scientific facts in biology or physics. But there are also pictures that seem simple and meaningless without words to explain to us the stories behind them. Words are indispensable at times. Words can convey feelings at which pictures are not good. There are also times when it’s impossible to take pictures and only by words can one share the experiences with one another. Sarah Shuting Cheung

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