When it comes to social media, people would rather look than read

WASHINGTON — For all the potential social media has to share important information, when it comes down to it, a picture trumps all other content.

According to a survey of regular social media users by D.C.-based business news and how-to website The Manifest, images are the only content type that more than half of social media users post regularly, cited by 69 percent of survey respondents.

“If you go on social media, you’re going to stop at a beautiful image. You’re probably not going to stop if somebody writes this big long block of text,” Kristen Herhold at The Manifest told WTOP. “You might read one sentence. Or you might just skip over it completely,”

What does that say about our attention spans? And what can marketers learn from it?

“As a millennial, studies have shown that we have a much shorter attention span than baby boomers, and Generation Z has an even shorter attention span,” Herhold said.

“I think it is really important, that if businesses want to reach consumers on social media, to post images. People aren’t going to read a big block of text anymore. They don’t have the time or the patience,” she said.

The Manifest’s survey also found that nearly half of social media users post content daily.

While Facebook may not be growing as fast as it once was, it is still the social media king. The Manifest said 52 percent of regular social media users use Facebook the most, compared to other social media platforms.

YouTube comes next, being used by 16 percent of regular social media users, followed by Instagram at 14 percent.

Twitter and Snapchat are further behind, each being used by 6 percent of regular social media users.

Those trends, however, differ based on the users.

Herhold said older generations still prefer Facebook. Younger social media users, especially teenagers, don’t use Facebook as much, favoring both Instagram and Snapchat.

Facebook owns Instagram.

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