THE BLOG
07/03/2013 02:11 pm ET Updated Sep 01, 2013

Social Snaps Are Not Just About Sexting: It's a Whole New Language

You've heard it said that "A picture is worth 1000 words." Wikipedia says that this idea "refers to the notion that a complex idea can be conveyed with just a single still image." The mind perceives the image and creates a story.

That's one picture, one story. The Social Snaps universe is turning this notion on it's head. Because now those photos are tagged and geo-tagged. Then add in Facebook, the world's largest photo/image database. We've just blown past big data into 'giant data' territory, what with Facebook's 1.8 billion profiles.

Next there's the Snapchat-WhatsApp-Instagram-Flickr-Pinterest-Tumblr portion of the Social Snaps world with hundreds of millions of images flying around the connected global grid... and it's enough to make your head swim.

Does the quantity of images lessen the value of a single image? What constitutes the worth of the photo -- the image, the quantity (or scarcity) or is it the idea contained in the single image that is worth 1000 words?

A new image-based language emerging. It's verbal and non-verbal. It's a lot like Google Glass -- hard to explain but totally clear once you've tried it. I'm just gaining insight into where we're going with this, and I'm fascinated.

According to mobiThinking, by 2016, 387.5 billion MMS (messages that include photos and video) will be sent, representing 1.7 percent of global messaging traffic. And much of that will be pictures sent with no written or verbal language attached at all. A sunrise. A cat. A selfie. A concert, a business meeting, a revolution, a baby.

This huge photo mosaic is its own new alphabet. From the paleolithic caves to the viral photos in the cloud, the link from photo to eye to mind to perception is endlessly fascinating. We think we know the story the cave dwellers were telling with stallions and hunters and fire. Now we're each of us telling thousands of photo-stories in real-time, all the time.

Yes, a picture is worth 1000 words, and 1000 social pictures is worth...? We're going to find out together.