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Think Visual

Journal of Web Librarianship Volume 6, Number 4, ISSN 1932-2909


Photographs tell a story and illustrate an experience more profoundly than words alone. Real-time, text-based communication is an increasingly normal part of daily life as mobile devices and social networks proliferate. Yet, in the steady stream of tweets, comments, status updates, notifications, and e-mail, the details are easily lost in the deluge. It's no surprise that social platforms supporting visual content, such as Instagram, Tumbler, and Pinterest, are now rising to the top of social media channels. An attractive, compelling image offers background, narrative, and conclusion all a moment's glance, delivering information, efficiency, and satisfaction to the viewer. In a recent experiment, David Lee King (2012), "with some help from Ben Bizzle," sought to learn more about what prompted customer interaction with the Topeka & Shawnee County Library Facebook page. His test post was a Victorian-style e-card image, with the quote "My book is almost finished, but I'm just not ready to say goodbye to these characters. Maybe if I just read the last chapter really slow..." It was posted on August 23, 2012, and within days became "the most popular post EVER for Topeka's Facebook page" according to King's research (posted to his blog on August 28, 2012). Why did this post become number one with a bullet in just a few short days? Here's what David Lee King determined: (1) It's visual; (2) Visual is also pretty useful; (3) Images with words are another trend; (4) The message connects with something their customers love; (5) It hits on an emotion; and (6) They asked for it. When it comes to thinking visually, there's nothing like an eye-catching image, graph, or pie chart to have one shouting from the rooftops, "I love infographics!" (Abram 2011). Indeed, a well-designed infographic is as aesthetically pleasing as it is educational, which is exactly what makes it share-worthy. Of course, the form and value of data visualization goes far beyond infographics. In 2011, Deloitte cited visualization as one of the leading tech trends for enterprise. Deloitte describes data visualization as a "(re)emerging enabler," since earlier iterations existed, such as spreadsheet and database chart builders and business reporting tools with limited context. Steps for developing an effective data visualization program for an organization and for establishing a strategy for packaging data into consumable, sharable media files are offered.


Thomas, L.C. (2012). Think Visual. Journal of Web Librarianship, 6(4), 321-324. Retrieved April 7, 2020 from .

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