The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

Entertaining Visuals

December 18, 2015


Graphic by Vanessa Mark.

In this fast-paced world, people and industries are using visuals as a way to communicate emotionally compelling ideas for their entertainment value. Visual media catches our eye when we open any modern social media platform, and it is a crucial part of our entertainment intake and social lives.

The influence of modern visuals is becoming greater with social media sites such as Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, Pinterest and Facebook, some of the most widely consumed idea and information sharing platforms. Providing alternatives to traditional visual entertainment on magazines, TVs and in movie theaters, the rise of the internet, along with increased photo and video sharing, has pushed the production and consumption of visuals to much higher levels. Social media increases dialogue and personal communication and these aspects are what modern-day entertainment looks like to the public.

This change can clearly be seen today in two areas: mass advertising and individual media sharing.

Corporations employ entertainment-based visuals in advertising to catch attention, and many websites, whose business models rely on getting views, use visuals to create reactions and intrigue audiences. Communication serves a primary role in reaching out to audiences and creating a need for a certain product or piquing interest.

Nike’s image-based marketing campaign is a good example of the advertising industry’s need for visuals to inspire purchases. Instead of using paragraphs and logic to explain the values of their products, Nike illustrates action and usability in images, displaying aesthetics in their products that cannot be conveyed through text. Customers are also attracted more by these graphics because rather than being told why they should buy Nike, they are shown why they should buy Nike.

These advertisements use visuals as the primary sources of information for its audience, supplemented with catch-phrases and its famous logo which are ultimately much more eye-catching and persuasive than any amount of text Nike could provide to potential buyers. To communicate with larger audiences, Nike and many other companies are advertising through social media — in Twitter feeds and Facebook posts. With society’s online presence increasing, social media is a powerful tool for these companies to push their brand names. Company logos become imprinted in consumers’ memories simply due to their frequent appearance on major social networking sites.

Social media has also become a powerful communication tool for the average individual, too. According to The Social Times, as of June 9, Snapchat users shared 8,796 photos per second, and Facebook users shared 4,501 photos per second. Images speak louder than words and also allow people to entertain others on a highly personal level.

With our phones and media surrounding us all the time, we can easily snap a photo of something interesting and upload it. These photos represent a larger truth, a moment frozen in time and transmittable to share with friends and family.

For larger media presences such as celebrities, social media uploads entertain masses of fans with doses of celebrities’ whereabouts and actions. Many fans hunger for more knowledge of their favorite celebrity, and platforms such as Instagram allow celebrities to provide those fans with exactly that.

As in journalism, there is a huge element of production and selection that goes on behind the scenes of both corporate and consumer-generated entertainment. In many cases, this careful selection and representation of only the author’s intended emotional effect is forgotten and people take what they see as reality. We should be aware of this method and make sure we are truly spending time to evaluate the content we are consuming for enjoyment.

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