pack-a-catWordPress-based platform developer Chris Brogan has an interesting observation about social media. It’s been flooded by image macros—photos with words pasted over them. While this began with Lolcats, it hardly stopped there, and now everyone’s Facebook stream is a by and large a cascade of these images.

The interesting thing about this is that it flies in the face of the accepted wisdom that links are what you’re supposed to be using. By that standard, these photos are “junk.” They’re an end in and of themselves; they don’t send you on to somewhere else. Hence, Brogan calls it the “Junkweb”

But I say this with fascination, affection, and a bit of realization. For whatever reason, the “photos with text” experience gives us that feeling we get when we read magazines. It makes the texty text of blogging a lot less stark. It draws our eyes in. It’s fast to consume, and it brings an emotional response faster.

Brogan’s magazine metaphor piques my interest. I find it oddly fascinating just how magazine-like social media have really become over the last few years, with apps like Flipboard that emphasize that magazine-like nature even further, at the same time as the rise of the iPad and other tablets have made reading magazines portably ever more popular. It’s as if having a color device you can hold in your hand makes people think, “Hey! Magazine! Let’s make stuff more magazine-like, so it’s more like you’re reading a magazine!” just like a greyscale device makes them think “This is a book!” Form follows function?

(Found via Slashdot.)


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