15 May Words matter, always
Technology comes along and changes the way we listen or spend time – the telegraph evolved into newspapers and then glossy magazines and social media. Radio grabbed attention in the early half of the 19th century and cinema entertained us with movies and newsreels.
Now audio is having its moment in the sun with podcasts and audible books. TV was once the centre of our lounge rooms, just as the stereo systems we once played records and cassettes upon before they morphed into CDs or DVDs. Hell, now you don’t need furniture for your listening or viewing pleasure – only a smartphone or laptop – you can let streaming solutions like Netflix and Spotify entertain you endlessly.
Technology may change the things that vie for our precious attention and storytelling time, but there’s one vital thing that underpins all of it – words.
Words are vital for songs, music, movies and radio. They are the ingredients that make a news bulletin just as much as a novel. And words and written content will always have a place online, no matter how important video and podcasts become.
Search engines need words to serve us information, content and stories. While Google search can give you videos, images and even datasets, most of what it’s indexing is text. Yep, words really matter for Google’s $4.8 billion advertising business – it can’t give us the information we crave without keywords.
Written content is more easily scanned than audio or video. You can easily search for a word or phrase in a page of text. It’s much harder to find specific information in a video or podcast.
And written content sounds so easy to create compared to faffing around with audio and video equipment. Words are one of the best tools in any communication toolkit – and they are made better with accompanying video, audio and images.
The not-so-final word
The written word has been around for centuries. And will continue to be important for centuries to come. Even on the internet.