Internet analyst and investor Mary Meeker gave her annual trends report at the Code Conference today, outlining her findings on "The Way We Internet Now." The entire report is fascinating, but as Peter Kafka points out, one of the most notable stats is that people are sharing and uploading upwards of 1.8 billion photos a day. A picture is worth way more than a thousand words… images are driving online engagement in a major way.

Meeker’s team used an infographic to lay out the drastic rise in shared photos. The impact of WhatsApp is especially impressive; the Facebook-owned messaging app propels even more photo uploads than its parent company.

This sharp increase in photo-sharing underlines why Twitter just expanded its photo-sharing tools, and why Facebook has continued its pursuit of Snapchat or a Snapchat clone: When people use the most popular social networks, they are often using them to share or engage with photos.

Meeker’s report highlights that the frequency of contacts may be more important than the number of contacts for social networks, meaning apps promoting smaller group or person-to-person communication like WhatsApp and Snapchat may have an advantage over services encouraging people to broadcast to a high number of “nodes,” like Facebook and Twitter.

The sheer volume of images shared in 2014 makes it clear this type of communication is a trend so widespread it may become entrenched. Rapid-fire image exchanges are becoming so commonplace they are complementing and, in some cases, supplanting other modes of communication.

H/T ReCode | Photo via Blake Patterson/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)