Visual Storytelling – the apps we use

We’ve reported recently on Pinterest and Flipboard, two of the most visually stimulating and interesting curation apps around and here at Mama Tea we really think social media is moving towards what we call visual storytelling. We no longer want our social media newsfeeds to be full of words, we want pictures and even more we want the pictures to be telling us something about the person that took the picture, hence the phrase visual storytelling. Here’s our favourite apps for creating amazing pictures for visual storytelling.


Everyone that is active in the world of social media will have heard of this app, aside from the social interaction aspect of the app, it has a selection of filters and effects that can be applied to photos you have taken on your phone.

The images above are a before and after using Instagram. The image on the left is the before shot taken on an iphone camera, the image on the right is the same picture but with a little bit of Instagram editing applied. The picture below is the same picture with more editing and another filter added.

glowing mama


This app costs £0.69 but if you’re taken with the affects available on Instagram you’ll enjoy playing with the affects available on this app. It calls itself “the ultimate photo app” and I’m inclined to agree, the range of filters and editing tools available allow you to do anything from cropping a photo to being really creative with all sorts of effects.

mama tea birthday cake

mama tea birthday cake

mama tea birthday cake 3

The three photos above show the mama tea birthday cake from the first picture taken on an iphone in the office to the final picture that was used in our birthday blog post. You can see the original photo was not well lit and showed the desk in the background, a little bit of editing on camera+ and we have a picture that is good enough to eat!

There are other photographic apps but these two are my favourite and right now essential tools for my visual content. We at Mama Tea are not alone in thinking visuals, and importantly the quality of your visuals, are essential to your social media presence, Mashable have just published an article (here) about the importance of visual content and Hubspot have also published a blog post (here) on optimizing your pictures for google search.


Time to Think Equal

logo of International Women's Day

Each year Cranfield University compile a report on the numbers of females at board level in FTSE 100 companies. In the UK the figure for the percentage of female board members has plateaued at about 12% since 2008 and in the US it has plateaued at about 14-15%.

The Figures

There were 155 female held directorships, out of 1092, in the FTSE 100 in 2010; 21 of which were executive directors and 134 were non-executive directors. The top ranking board in the FTSE 100 was Burberry with 3 out of its 8 directors female and in second place was Diageo with 4 out of its 11 directors female (note this is the only board with 4 females). There are 14 boards in the FTSE 100 with no females, and in the FTSE 250 it’s even worse with just under 50% of boards being all male.

Time for Change

The introduction to the most recent report, by Theresa May MP and Vince Cable MP, said;

Promoting equality of opportunity and equal treatment for women isn’t just the right thing to do – it’s also crucial to our country’s economic success.

Women bring fresh ideas, perspectives and experiences. As a woman in business I’m keen to understand why women are not achieving board level, I also appreciate it is not all down to men and women need to help themselves. The debate goes on as to how equality is achieved, everyone should achieve based on merit and this is why the idea of gender quotas is distasteful to many, including me. There are no clear answers as to which gender diversity initiatives achieve positive results but we need to keep working at it to encourage and empower women enabling them to achieve their full potential.

Flipboard – our new obsession!

It was Apple’s iPad App of the year in 2010 and one of Time’s Top 50 Innovations and we love it, it’s changing how we read the news and view our social media. Flipboard is a free app for your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch that calls itself “your (pocket-sized) social magazine”.

Flipboard presents your choice of social networks, news and publications in a magazine style format. The idea is to fill Flipboard with the things you like to read and it then creates a magazine of the bits of the social web that matter to you. You can then flip through the pages of your personal magazine commenting, sharing and saving to read later.

Flipboard has taken the social web and presented it in a gorgeous, glossy readable format. This style of content curation makes the likes of Twitter and Facebook newsfeeds immensely enjoyable to read and all collects it in one place. We predict that content curation will be a significant factor in the coming year for the social web. Flipboard has some big fans here and we’re trying hard to spread the word about what an amazing app it is to use!

Pinterest – The Social Network of 2012?

You may have heard murmurs of a new social network on the block and wondering if it’s worth getting involved. Let me warn you before you do; it’s addictive!

Pinterest – what is it?

Pinterest describes itself as “a virtual pinboard”. It allows you to created themed pinboards of your favourite images and each time you “pin” something new your followers see it, and similar to other social networks they can like it, comment on it or re-pin it. Install the “Pin It” button to your bookmarks bar and every time you’re browsing the internet you can pin any image you see, it really is that easy!

This site feels and looks very different to the other social networks around and is all about sharing really gorgeous and lovely images. It is really refreshing to find a social network that is not attempting to copy anyone else.

Pinterest Figures

The site is only two years old. There are various figures around the internet suggesting Pinterest is the fastest growing social network or it has over so many new users per month, the exact figures are unknown but this table from a recent study by Experian Hitwise suggests that in November 2011 Pinterest had more users than the much better known sites such as Tumblr and Google+.

In addition to that, Pinterest has been much talked about in the last couple of months so it would be reasonable to assume the number of visits and users of the site has increased since this data was acquired.

Why Join?

Aside from the fact it’s a lot of fun and addictive, from a business point of view it’s a good way to develop a brand image. The site is invite only but you can ask for an invite or if you have some social-media-ahead-of-the-game-friends they are probably already members and can send you an invite. Once joined, think about the image you want for your brand, you may want to have a board with pictures of your products but you will probably also want to have boards of cool things your brand would like to associate with or a board of things you think would be funny to potential customers. As with other social media marketing it never looks good to solely promote your brand and nothing else, Pinterest is a great place to develop a wider brand image and personality away from just your logo and products (here is a really good article to help you think about brand image). So have some fun and start pinning – just don’t blame me if you get addicted!