So I'm going to flip the challenge Yin Wah Krehar gave the #digiwrimo community and ask instead, when is it appropriate to use visuals?
4 Questions to ask yourself before using a visual
1. Why do I want to use the Visual? Many times it is simply something that will catch the eye of the reader. Or perhaps you've been told that blog posts or digital writing SHOULD have visuals. Perhaps it is personal preference. However, if you really don't have a good reason (it will help you get your message across, it will reinforce an emotion you want to evoke, it will help the reader understand), then why use it?
2. Is the Visual you have chosen really relevant to what you are writing? Now, I have to be honest, I love that picture of the jelly fish at the Monterrey Bay Aquarium. I might even be able to justify it by saying it's like writing in that a writer has all these ideas floating around and writing is a way to put them altogether in a uniform product. But really, it doesn't really do anything for my post except to illustrate that the visual should be relevant.
3. Is the visual easy to understand? For one of my assignments, I made my students create a visual on pinterest. Can you figure out what they were supposed to create? To be honest, I knew it would be difficult for them to achieve the kind of visual we discussed in class using pinterest. While pinterest includes visuals, it doesn't allow for the type of task I assigned them (which was part of goal). I was very impressed with the graphic they ended up with. However, for anyone who did not know the task, it would be difficult to understand the graphic.
So before putting that visual into your blog post, facebook post, or attaching it to a tweet, ask yourself if it is really necessary.