MEDIA SCOOP | Presented by DML Media Group
A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words
“Double-tapping” or liking an online photo is gaining popularity across the social media footprint through Instagram. Launched in October 2010, a new user was being gained each second by May 2012! With 100 million monthly active users, Instagram just marked the one year anniversary of its acquisition by Facebook. Through its “Weekend Hashtag Project,” blogs, photo features, user spotlights and news, Instagram connects with users on what’s happening around the world.
Case in point. In less than 48 hours, Instagrammers celebrated space exploration in Russia, got a behind the scenes photo walk of Southwest Airlines headquarters in Dallas, Texas and participated in Buddhist celebrations of the New Year across Southeast Asia. How’s that for frequent flier miles?
As a relative newcomer to Instagram, I’ll be the first one to raise my hand and admit that I am addicted. I can’t get enough of the fun photos and inspirational quotes posted by friends and favorite celebrities. And, I am even among one of Kim Kardashian’s 7.9 million followers. But I’ve also observed that Instagram is not just a free photo-sharing app available through iPhone and Android. Beyond photo editing and sharing, Instagram is a storytelling platform. Visual stories are told through a series of engaging and interesting photos that reveal personal insights about the user’s experience and culture.
As far as Haitian culture, two of the brands in the tourism sector that stand out on Instagram are My Haiti Travels and Haiti Tourism. Every day, I am whisked away by their pictures of Haiti that tell an authentic story rarely seen via traditional media platforms. Additionally, these brands share user-generated content submitted by their followers, which is an effective way to grow an interactive community of storytellers. Through Instagram, these groups are building relationships with consumers and helping to reshape Haiti’s image, one double-tap at a time.
I recently attended a special screening of the film Toussaint Louverture that is based on the leader of the Haitian Revolution, the only successful slave revolt in the world. Held during the 20th Annual New York African Film Festival, the film screening was an especially moving experience for me because it was held on April 7th, the actual anniversary of Louverture’s death in 1803. The Haitian-born actor Jimmy Jean-Louis’ award-winning portrayal of Louverture captivated the standing-room-only audience at the Film Society of Lincoln Center.
If you’re a TV junkie like me, you’ll remember Jean-Louis as “The Haitian” character on NBC’s series Heroes. During a Q&A session with Jean-Louis following the film, he talked about what it was like playing a real-life Haitian hero and how he focused on conveying a sense of dignity to Louverture in every scene of the movie.
With popcorn in one hand and my Smartphone in the other, I felt compelled to share the experience on Twitter. As I captured the moment in 140 characters, I recognized the role of social media in creating a better understanding of heroes from Haiti and beyond. An online community can affect positive social change.
Are You Ready For Your Close-up?
Whether photography, audio, video or multimedia, we live in an age of community-driven media. Stay tuned for an upcoming Media Scoop where we’ll explore how we use social media for social responsibility in the Haitian community.
So, what does your social media activity say about your personal story and culture? Has Haiti’s brand image benefitted from the social media spectrum? Let us know what you think in the comments. You can also join the Media Scoop conversation on Twitter with hashtag #HTMediaScoop.
Daphne Leroy is a marketing and media strategist who is the founder and President of DML Media Group, LLC. Follow her on Twitter.
DML Media Group, LLC is a boutique consulting firm that specializes in personalized strategic marketing, communications and public relations services across multi-media platforms. Visit DMLmediagroup.com and follow them on Twitter.
The views expressed in this blog are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Haitian Times.