There’s no denying that social media has completely transformed the way people interact with the world. Chances are there are some friends and relatives you never see in the real world, and only know through your Facebook interactions. Even with those you keep in touch with regularly, you probably utilize the social networks to solidify plans, share about upcoming events and then post pictures of said events for all the world to see. Facebook actually uploads more than 300 million photos every single day through their platform. So it probably won’t come as any sort of surprise to learn that Facebook, Twitter and Instagram may well be responsible for killing the traditional photo album. The real surprise is just how complete that takeover has become.
Samsung recently released the results of a study they ran in Great Britain, looking to determine how the social networks have impacted the traditional ways in which people share photos. Through a partnership with service company OnePoll, Samsung checked in with more than 3,000 people. The results were clear, and damning for any companies making a living through printed photo albums. According to those results, more than 60% of those polled would rather catalog and share their photos through digital means, and now have no use for standard photo albums. Only 30% of the people polled admitted to still having albums around. More than half of all the participants declared Facebook their favorite service for sharing photographs.
If you explore the results returned by the younger poll participants, the results are even more clear. Just 13% of those who fall within the 18 to 24 age range admitted to ever even using a photo album. Just think about that for a second. More than one in ten young adults in 2013 have never had any sort of interaction with a traditional book of photos. When you consider this was the primary way that families maintained a living history for the past one hundred and fifty odd years, such a change in such a short amount of time is absolutely staggering.
Much of the shift begins when the photos are being taken. 20% of responders said that when they snap a photo, the end goal is to put it up on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. Around one in ten responders admitted that the photos they take end up on one of these sites less than a minute after being snapped. Traditional film is now obsolete, and people crave instant results. No longer do you have to wait for the lengthy exposure and printing process. And most people take their photos on a tablet or smartphone which are already internet connected. Would you rather tap a button and share a photo with your friends, or send it off for printing and binding that could take weeks?
More and more casual photographers are now turning the camera around as well. If you’ve ever seen a “selfie”, you know this to be the case. In fact, those same young adults now snap more photos of themselves in various situations than they ever take of family or friends. It’s now the most popular image upload, accounting for one third of all pictures taken by this age group. Chances are none of these random snaps would ever end up in great custom photo albums. So don’t expect your friends to sit for any photo album review sessions these days. They’ve probably already seen your pictures online.