“A picture is worth a thousand words,” is an oft used expression. My blog and companion Instagram are just over a year old. The blog has 80 followers and typically gets 25 -30 views per weekly post. My Instagram account has 532 followers and in the last month it trends towards 80-100 views per daily post. From a social media viewpoint, are the statistics equal or even comparable? The Instagram account certainly sounds like it is doing better.  When I have limited time and resources, is it better to spend the six to seven hours a week to write the blog or the one hour a day to do the Instagram posts? What’s more powerful, words or pictures?

I asked the question of peers this from the UK and the Netherlands this week before starting a series a day long meetings. As we collaborated, we found ourselves carefully selecting the right words, like mediate versus negotiate, to express ideas. Ah, the words are very important. But, we drew pictures, process flow charts, to further explain the concepts. Ah, the pictures are important. In a room full of technical people, while the reasons may be complex, the conclusion is, we need both.

What’s important is context. A picture as a snapshot in time, may not tell the whole story. Words alone can be difficult understand. Have you ever tried to read the instructions for installing a garbage disposal? Uggghhhhh. The plumber fee for installation was $300, a number that sent me to Google in search of a YouTube video for garbage disposal installation. Multiple views of a YouTube video, two trips to home depot and three hours of time, I was done. It took both words and pictures.

Great, words and pictures are needed. That was all good, but it didn’t do much my evaluation of blog versus Instagram. A picture is worth a thousand words, but you can only do so much with a picture. I went anthropological. By this I mean I thought about early cave painting.  A picture of a lion approaching and attacking everyone can be drawn, but, it’s much more effective to scream, haul ass out of here. Words and pictures can both communicate thoughts and concepts. As to which are more important, words or pictures? Maybe the better question is, which best tells the story? My Instagram is a story of my yoga journey, the squares as a collection tell story of kitchen yoga, pictures. My blog is a story of business insights, the posts as a collection tell the story of business lessons, words.

At this point, it seems the more reasonable thing to do would be to abandon the words and stick with pictures. Obviously now, there are two different venues with two different audiences and objectives. The blog provides the bona fides for me as someone who has experienced the good, the bad, and the unbelievable in the business world and survived. The Instagram shows the depth and breadth of my yoga practice.

What’s more important, words or pictures? It’s how to best convey the story to be told. Often, a picture is worth a thousand words and can evoke a memory, a feeling, transport you anther time and place. It’s the power of words presenting a logical conclusion that propels one to act or merely words that help one understand a situation.

Can I tell the business story with pictures? Can I really explain more complex ideas with pictures? The pictures help, the words make the story. Back to me and my review. If followers and likers were all that mattered, the answer is Instagram. But I want more. I want to relate thoughts and ideas and as long as I have a story to tell, the blogs lives to see another post. Big thanks to all of you readers.

P.S. This has been the words. These are the picture: https://instagram.com/bous_yoga/