Facebook Killed the Photograph Star
Facebook has been busy the last few months. One of the recent changes is the ability to make your profile pic a 7 second looping video. In fact, you can already do this on some devices, read this article on how to currently change your profile pic to a video. Now I know the thought of all the bathroom mirror selfies now being videos can result in quite a shudder, but this is a natural progression that has been a long time coming, and will change expectations in how people see static non-moving photos in the near future. We’ve already seen the popularity of Vines and in the last year big video backgrounds have become common on trendier websites. Apple just released a new feature in it’s new iOS called Live Photos that take several frames before and after the shot to make regular photos have a bit of movement.
Static photos on the web are about to feel very out dated.
I remember the first time I noticed the pre-game NFL profile pics of players were small videos instead of static photos. I google’d and couldn’t find any dates of when they started doing this but my guess is the early 2000’s. The change in depth and real-ness from this simple change was breath-taking. Players could actually express a small emotion in their profile displays, a smile, or a smirk, even in a few seconds personality can come through to the viewer. Now, if the NFL went back to the static photos would feel like going back to the stone-age.
So what will this change? In addition to Facebook profiles being more expressive, this will change the average Internet user’s expectations on web photographs. I think static photos on the web are about to seem very dated. I think your typical “team” or “our staff” pages that are currently filled of head-shot photographs will now be expected to be short videos, a simple smile or a tilt of the head. Restaurant menu pages with static images of food shots will now seem outdated unless the food has a bit of movement, pictures of beer or drinks will show bubbles and foam. Online shopping carts selling T-Shirts will show the shirt waving in the wind and have models that move. None of this is revolutionary and I’m sure there are sites that already are doing this, but now that Facebook has made this step, the expectation of movement in photos will follow as a norm, as Facebook is a very large percentage of most Internet user’s idea of how the Internet works.
So practice your perfect head tilt and embrace for the coming death of static photography on the web.