by Areej Mawasi
Monday, July 23rd, 2012
“A picture is not worth a thousand words”
According to Erez Lieberman Aiden -who presented one
of his research in TEDxBoston- “What we are left with is a collection of five million books, 500 billion words, a string of characters a thousand times longer than the human genome — a text which, when written out, would stretch from here to the Moon and back 10 times over — a veritable shard of our cultural genome.”
Yes, a picture is not worth a thousand
words, that’s why I am writing this today. Using Twitter, Facebook, and other social media tools made me question myself about how important it is to know the sources of every picture or the story behind each photo before sharing it, and the date too. Hiding the source, makes photos misleading, and inaccurate.
Inaccurate information about photos we see
and observe could be used for propaganda.
Social media users, start to share,
non-stop, photos or information that has no reliable source.
Few weeks ago, a picture of the photographer Marco di Lauro that was taken 9 years ago in Iraq, was passed on the BBC News, where they used it to illustrate the Houla massacre which happened in Syria few weeks ago. BBC had to apologize to the photographer and to undertake heavy criticism after what happened. But, this did not change the fact that millions of people shared it on Twitter and Facebook without knowing the real story of the photo and showed directly sympathy with the victims in the photo. I tried to Google that picture; I got millions of research results.
And here I come with another photo that was shared
on Twitter: a group of Zionist Settlers in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in
Jerusalem was described as: “A woman was kicked off from her house by these
settlers TODAY”. The photo got more than 200 retweets, and was followed by many comments. The story of this picture was totally different. It was actually taken on May 2010, on what Zionist call “Jerusalem Day” – a Zionist holiday
commemorating the day Israel occupied Jerusalem in June 1967- in which Israeli Settlers went around the old city including Arab neighborhoods. This picture was taken in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, Otman-Ben-Affan Street; this woman was not kicked off her home that day. 
I remembered this photo from the war on Lebanon in 2006 , during a photography workshop I led about “Photography Manipulation” for a group of teens, one of the participants who did not know any information (neither about the location nor the place) said: “When I first looked at this picture, I felt such a strange feeling of contradiction: these people riding a fancy car in the midst of all this destruction and ruins. It felt wrong… But who are we to tell what these people are doing? » 
This is simply called manipulation. When a photojournalist takes a photo, his photo description must answer these questions, in order to make us get a clear image about what really this photo
Who is that in the picture?
I can go on, and give hundreds of examples of many photos that I see every single day through social media networks with a manipulating description that encourage propaganda. Pictures from Burma, Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon & other places all over the world.
I believe that a new media is a great tool to share what old media do not share, but, this does not say that I agree with the way people share things without thinking, nor fetching reality about it.
In other words, simply, when people share “photos” online, through social media networks, they should take into consideration the previous questions, and make sure that the photos they share have a reliable
And here I’m quoting someone I don’t usually quote, President Barack Obama, who said: “Think before you post”, so for God sake, THINK BEFORE YOU SHARE. Make sure, you know the whole details about what the photo tells. Sometimes one thousand words are not enough to describe a photo, because “some pictures are worth 500 billion words.” 
 Solidarity WithShiekhJarrah Publications.
 Winner of the World Press Photo. By Spencer
Platt (Getty Images).
For Arabic version of this article :
Article Author: Areej Mawasi, Business
Adminstration Student, Blogger.
Twitter: @rejism90 Blog: http://meetareej.com