Predictions for the future of media in 2014 are flying. Google is anticipating a focus on mobile. CNET reports Amazon is on its way to becoming a "media powerhouse" with streaming movies and original Web series. Digital storytelling through video and image-based platforms like Vine and Instagram is expected to increase.
What do these predictions have in common? They all represent a major change in how we create and consume content. The Internet has always been an instrument of communication, but images are fast becoming the preferred method of message delivery. That isn't to say there's no room for words: 2013 saw narrative-heavy platforms like Medium and Longreads not only gain a foothold but flourish, while subscriptions to digital newspapers are on the rise.
At the same time, Twitter is implementing changes designed to make tweets "more visual," while Facebook is bringing video ads to your newsfeed. Companies, brands, and online magazines are redesigning their sites to put photos and video content front and center. Suddenly, everywhere you go online looks suspiciously like Pinterest or Instagram, and everyone wants to compete with YouTube and Tumblr.
This shift makes a lot of sense. Whether we access it through a smartphone, tablet, or laptop, visual content gets our attention. We are busy people. The Web is a cluttered place. Couple our high speed wireless connections with the immediate impact of pictures and videos, and you can see why they're fast becoming a key element of our experience online.
The year we're about to usher in will bring with it more online films and infographics, more user-generated videos and animated GIFs, more image-based blogs and pin boards than ever before. Look for businesses to embrace visual content in every possible way, and for those sites and social networks built on it to gain even more followers. The Internet is a rich and colorful place.
And there is much to see.