(WFLX) - When people started texting, there were those who pointed out that communication would suffer between us -- that there'd be less face-to- face and voice interactions.
Well, now, it's text that's taking a back seat to photos and videos sent through the phone. Some are even calling this a new form of dialogue!
Joe Fitzsimmons is a college student who likes to chat with friends -- only he is a man of few words. "The old saying being that a picture is worth a thousand words, um, I think, applies very well here."
Joe lets his pictures and videos do the talking. It's how he communicates with friends. "When I see something that I want to share with someone else, I'll take a picture of it," he said. "It's much more different when you see what's going on instead of being told what's going on."
A recent survey by the CTIA, the association for the wireless industry, shows Joe is not alone.
Its findings showed actual voice usage stayed flat over six months, texting went down and multimedia messages went up more than 65 percent over six months.
Check out these numbers:
On Instagram, people share 45 million photos a day.
On Snapchat, 200 million images are sent.
On Facebook, people share 300 million images daily.
"We are sharing our content, you know, our data, our lives in, in entirely different ways these days," said John Walls with CTIA.
But what does this mean for the written word and actual conversation?
Mitchell stephens is a journalism professor and wrote the book "The Rise of the Image, The Fall of the Word".
He doesn't think images will replace language completely. "But the combination of images and language, I think, is really interesting. I think you're going to be able to say things with moving images and words that you can't say in just printed words."
With the technology changing so rapidly, he says, it is only going to get easier for people to communicate this way. "I think we're on the verge of something really important. Image communication, particularly moving image communication, is really new. I think we're just tiptoeing into an exciting new form of communication."
Joe, who sends dozens of photos and videos a day, says he still uses words and texts when he needs to, but, he believes, this trend is a more effective way to get the word out. "I think a picture, video, sometimes, will explain most of what i need to say."
It seems there is no end to the apps that make sharing pictures and video even easier from Mixbit to Vine, to one called CallSnap. This app lets you decline an incoming phone call when you're busy, but shows the caller what you're up to and why you can't answer by sending them a photo!