Sometimes a Picture Isn’t Worth a Thousand Words

Sometimes a picture needs no words. A photo of a crying mother holding her baby in front of a bombed out building doesn’t need a caption, the story is told in the photo. But, there are many times when a photo without a caption to give it context is practically useless.

Case in point; a Facebook status update that includes text with supporting photos which Facebook then breaks up into individual photo updates.

Here’s an example of a tip I posted on Facebook that included text and three supporting photos. I posted this as a status update and uploaded the photos directly with the post, it’s not an album. As you can see in the first screenshot, it says that Social Identities added three new photos and all three photos are included below the text I wrote. The photos are in the order I added them and make sense when seen along with the text but, for some reason, after the first complete post goes out Facebook then sends the individual photos to my fans’ News Feeds as separate updates. Why? Heck if I know. Why doesn’t Mark Zuckerberg buy different color hoodies?

In the second screenshot you can see one of those later updates Facebook generated for me with a single photo and no text because I didn’t add descriptions to the individual photos. Why would I? They were meant to be seen together, along with the text I’d written in the status update and weren’t intended to be viewed individually.

When you upload a single image along with text, the image doesn’t need a separate description because if you click to open it in the photo viewer the text from the post is the description. Also, if you upload four or more photos, whether in a single status update or to an album, Facebook sends it out to your fans’ News Feeds as one post only. But, if you upload two or three images in an update, even if the update has some text, Facebook will not only place it in the feed as a single post but will also push the individual images out later. If they don’t have a description there’s a good chance they won’t make sense to anyone.

A similar thing happens when you add only two or three photos to an album. Facebook doesn’t send a single update showing that you added several photos to a new album, like they do if you upload four or more, they will break them up into individual posts.

So, what’s the solution? Well, I don’t have a perfect one if all of the photos in your post need to be seen together to make sense, whether they each have a description or not, but what I’ll be doing from now on is to copy and paste the text of the post and add it as the description for each photo, as you can see in the last screenshot. Obviously I’d prefer to have the viewer see all images at the same time but at least the post won’t be completely useless like it would be if all they saw was one image with no description.

Unfortunately, when you upload multiple photos in a status update there’s no way to add a description for each individual photo like you can if you add them to an album so you’ll need to post the status update first and then open each image and paste the text in the description box. Yeah, I know, I told you it wasn’t a perfect solution but neither is wearing only grey hoodies because you don’t want to take the time to color coordinate them with your pants. Good grief, Mark, jeans go with everything.