Are Screenshots The New Press Release?

In days past, the best way to reach a large audience of people was to use a press release. You could spend hours to craft a message, create quotes, and prepare it for delivery. You’d then send, or even fax, the release to media outlets in the hope they’d pick it up and spread the news for you. For the big news, you’d pay a service to send out the release to hundreds or thousands of places.

Then came the Internet. Thanks to websites, and eventually blogs, companies, organizations, and even individuals could spread the word on their own terms, and at less cost.

Now, we are experience peak social media. There have never been more outlets for companies, businesses, and people to have direct access to customers, influencers, other brands and more.

I’ve enjoyed watching a new style of press release emerge in the last year. This type of press release is new and exciting – it’s a screenshot.

Yes, a screenshot. Usually of a notes app on someone’s phone, where they’ve typed or copy and pasted and then taken a screenshot. It’s a genius way to get around the character limits of a platform like Twitter. If you want to read the entire image, you just view the full-size image.

One audience I’ve seen using this new “press release” lately are college athletes who are announcing their departures from college to go pro. Here are two recent examples:

Screenshot as Press Release Example Screenshot as Press Release Example #2

The University of Missouri was one of the first schools I’ve seen use this when they used a screenshot to share a statement from campus leadership back in November of 2015.

Screenshot as Press release example #3

It’ll be interesting to see if larger and larger companies start to use this method for sharing news. In higher ed, I could see using it for weather closings, all-clears after emergencies, schedule changes, large announcements, and more.

3 comments

  1. Unfortunately, a screenshot is not accessible to users with visual disabilities who use assistive technology to read electronic documents, so I can’t see this as being a viable option for weather closings, all-clears after emergencies, or schedule changes.

  2. Its a bit of a stretch to suggest screenshots are the new press release based on a Twitter hack. And Twitter is considering expanding their character limit to render the hack useless.

  3. I see and believe in the value (and potential virality) of screenshots, but that doesn’t take SEO and accessibility into consideration. I think they have a supplemental value (note that the Mizzou tweet is accompanied with a link) but simply can’t replace plain text.

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