Online Reputation Management Blog

Are Pictures Still Worth 1,000 Words? Or Just 140 Characters?

People are taking more pictures than ever — 380 billion a year, in fact — thanks to digital cameras and social media, which have made photography easier and more accessible. Now, people take more pictures in two minutes than the whole of humanity did in the 19th Century.

However, some people think that this might not be such a good thing, suggesting that the attention we give to photos has atrophied as a result of the sheer volume of pictures put in front of us. Consequently, this may mean our photos carry less weight, and are less valuable.

To put this in perspective, think back to a time when digital cameras were the stuff of science fiction. You first had to buy film, then pay for it get to get developed and printed. Now, sharing pictures is as easy as pulling out your smartphone, snapping the shot, and putting it on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, or whichever social network you may prefer.

There’s also the emotional value to consider. Film can only capture a very limited amount of pictures, so photographers who still use film — both amateur and professional — have to be selective. Memory cards, on the other hand, can hold what feels like a limitless amount of pictures. The standard eight gigabyte memory card can hold 1,907 12-megapixel pictures, and most smartphones and cameras have much, much more memory than that. Instead of exclusively photographing precious moments — birthdays, holidays, babies’ first moments — we take selfies and pictures of lackluster meals, simply because we can.

In economics, there’s a principle called diminishing marginal returns. According to Investopedia, it’s “a law of economics stating that, as the number of new employees increases, the marginal product of an additional employee will at some point be less than the marginal product of the previous employee.” This means that after you possess a certain amount of something, the value of each individual thing decreases as you get more.

Essentially, the more pictures we take and share, the less valuable each one becomes.

To retain our pictures’ value, perhaps it’s not a matter of being more selective with our subjects, but a matter of thinking before sharing. As Nat Burgess, a photographer and writer for GeekWire, writes, “Many of the 60 billion photos taken this month will be deleted when the photographer upgrades his or her phone. A few will receive a passing glance on social media. The ones that catch your eye, most likely, will have been taken by a photographer who cares about the subject, and who has something more to say than ‘look at me.’”

McDonald’s Hopes New Social Media Q&A Campaign Will Improve Public’s Perception

McDonald’s has a bad rap, and with the increasing popularity and availability of healthier on-the-go meal options, such as fast-casual chains like Chipotle Mexican Grill, Panera Bread, and Saladworks, consumers aren’t lovin’ it anymore. McDonald’s has therefore taken to social media in an effort to revamp their image of unhealthy — and maybe even downright unnatural — food, to one that promotes healthy meal choices.

As such, they’ve recruited former Mythbusters host Grant Imahara as part of their new social media campaign. Imahara, with his approachable nerdy-but-cool demeanor, is seemingly far less frightening than McDonald’s previous Facebook and Twitter Happy Meal Mascot, which drew an immense amount of scorn and mockery from consumers and which coincided with four consecutive months of declining, less than stellar U.S. sales. While the mocked mascot may not be directly linked to declining sales, it contributed to the public’s poor image of the McDonald’s brand.

According to a third-quarter study conducted this year by Brand Keys, McDonald’s has suffered declining sales across all age groups and generations. Millennials, Gen X- and Y-ers, and even Baby Boomers are spending less and less at McDonald’s, characterizing its food as “cheap,” and not “quality food.” However, McDonald’s has been suffering from much more than declining sales and the social media blues. Ironically enough, social media may just be what ultimately repairs their image.

In an effort to shift consumer behavior and dispel negative associations regarding their food, McDonald’s has taken to social media to keep it real with consumers by answering their questions. And consumers definitely got real, asking tough questions like “What is mechanically-separated meat, and how do you turn it into a nugget?” and “What’s with that pink slime?” and also “Is there horsemeat in your hamburgers?” The realest question of all may have been, “Does McDonald’s even sell real food?”

In addition to the social media campaign, McDonald’s is now accepting Apple Pay, a new mobile payment system that allows users to pay with a smartphone app rather than their wallet. Cloud based-POS systems have taken the retail and restaurant industries over by storm. The convenience and security of cloud POS systems allows businesses to have access to important sales data at all times, from any location where an internet connection is present. Large retailers and restaurant chains use cloud POS systems to carefully monitor sales. The Golden Arches will likely use this technology to track the efficacy of their new social efforts, as well.

While the future of McDonald’s has yet to be determined, the trend towards healthier, more natural foods makes it seem as though fewer people may be asking to have fries with that in the future.

iCloud Hackers Regroup After Celebrity Nude Photo Scandal

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Celebrities are not the only ones upset about the recent iCloud hack that resulted in the leak of hundreds of nude celebrity photos. Hackers from the porn forum “AnonIB” that hosted many of the photos are not used to so much publicity, nor did they want it. The creators of the site quickly took the forum down after realizing that the hacker who stole the photos, known as “OrigianlGuy,” had leaked the photos on their site.

Hackers who had shared hacking tips and advertised their skills on AnonIB disbanded after the story began to circulate through the news, and have only recently regrouped. Although the website is back up and running, its layout has changed in the aftermath of the celebrity scandal. The page that contained stolen photos, nicknamed “Stol,” is no longer available. The Stol page had previously been used as a way for hackers to adversities their services and as a common place for hackers to share tips on obtaining nude photographs. The creators of the site didn’t give an explanation for deleting this section of the forum, but fear of legal action against them is a likely cause.

iCloud hackers might not be able to steal information off the web as easily now that Apple has upped its security measures, but that isn’t likely to stop them. Information stored on the cloud is vulnerable to attacks, and nearly 50% of businesses lost data in the cloud in 2013. It might be more difficult, but hackers will find a way.

The war wages on in the celebrity nude photo scandal with the most recent legal actions involving Google. Celebrity lawyer Marty Singer has written to Google, demanding that they remove any nude celebrity photos that continue to circulate on its site and asking them to cut off any sites listed on Google that host the nude photos. He has threatened to sue the company for $100 million if they don’t cooperate.

A request made on behalf of victims of the photo scandal to remove all photos was sent to Google a month before the threat, but many sites that Google owns still displayed the pictures. Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, Rihanna and Ariana Grande are among the female celebrities targeted by the iCloud attack.

SEO, Social Media Firms Struggle to Stay Ahead of the Curve as Google Releases New Updates

As tends to happen after Google puts out its latest updates for Penguin, Panda, and Hummingbird — what you should think of as the gatekeepers of the Silicon Valley giant’s tech empire — digital marketing firms are freaking out a little bit. The changes to Google’s menagerie of animal-themed policemen are said to affect a full 90% of all listings on the search engine, which earns upwards of 100 billion search queries per month. With 93% of all online experiences beginning with a search engine — the vast majority of which start with Google — the updates aimed at removing low quality links and content from search engine result pages could obviously put a big dent in the revenue of a business that relies on digital marketing to generate buzz and sales.

As a new article from The Guardian details, however, the latest Penguin, Panda, and Hummingbird updates shouldn’t be met with hysteria. In effect, they only serve to continue Google’s trend of pushing web marketing away from spammy link building and content creation practices. Instead, companies will have to shift to content that delivers utility to web users. In short, they’ll have to do what most top tier SEO companies have been saying they should have been doing for the last couple of years.

What Should a “Shift to Content” Actually Entail?
Quite simply, a shift to content should just be about focusing on high quality content that people find some sort of value in, whether that means making them laugh, educating them, or otherwise. Consider, according to a report from Business 2 Community, 73% of web users feel frustrated when they view a piece of uninteresting or otherwise useless content. The latest Google updates do, indeed, place more pressure on companies to put out great content, but if that means tapping into the $278.9 billion American web users are estimated to be spending online by 2015, the smart company will be willing to make the effort.

How are you modifying your marketing strategies to keep pace with Google’s updates? Let us know in the comment section below.