My iPad recently updated with a new keyboard which contains tens of emoji.  More and more, you see emoji used in place of text, much in the way that emoticons were used in place of text in the last few decades.  This seems like a logical next step, but it does open up questions about how current and future generations adapt.

Emoji is one phenomenon, pictures are another.  I speak with Teresa occasionally about what kids are doing for communication on social media.

“They don’t use Facebook.  They spend most of their time on Snapchat and Twitter.”

I find that fascinating as Twitter is my main social media outlet (outside this blog, which is basically a broadcast channel off purposefully off the beaten path) and I wouldn’t expect it to be that popular with younger folks, it’s mostly news to me.  My assumption is that they use it for interaction much more.

Snapchat interests me greatly however.  The movement from written communication to photos is a fundamental shift, and although traditional advertising has used it as a tactic to elicit attention, it has never been the predominant way of interpersonal communication for most folks.  We absolutely send photos, and have done so for many years, but for it to take over as the primary means will hold big implications for marketers.

Pictures alone do not provide context to outside parties.  To my knowledge, pictures cannot be analyzed in the same way that purchases, searches, emails and other activity can.  The ethical nature of analyzing such activities aside, if all people were to begin communicating through pictures and video, companies will try to pile on in ways that make sense.  You see it today, so many companies are creating content in Instagram and other mediums in the same vein.

I am a big Twolves fan, and if you watch their Twitter account, you can see that they are moving towards a younger audience.  Many of their posts are simply one word followed by emoji, or funny gifs meant to connote happenings in the game.  This is all contextual and shows that they are adapting to the new mediums–it’s a good thing.  It also creates a brand moxie that shows end customers how they view the world.  More brands need to show their personality in the same way.

All said, the movement toward fewer words in marketing is likely a necessary adaptation.  Though I personally enjoy writing and to a lesser extent reading, I’d highly advocate digging into your core audience’s communication types and building content that embraces it in a way that makes sense.