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Is the pen still mightier than the sword?

It looks like the written word is predicted to become obsolete as technology moves us on the higher levels of expression and creativity.

Is the pen still mightier than the sword?

Indeed, Facebook has arguably made us all writers, since it has become the medium of choice for millions to share their views and life experiences. But in five years that creativity may look very different. Facebook is predicting the end of the written word on its platform.

In five years time Facebook “will be definitely mobile, it will be probably all video,” said Nicola Mendelsohn, who heads up Facebook’s operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, at a conference in London last month. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, has already noted that video will be more and more important for the platform. But Mendelsohn went further, suggesting that stats showed the written word becoming all but obsolete, replaced by moving images and speech.

“The best way to tell stories in this world, where so much information is coming at us, actually is video,” Mendelsohn said. “It conveys so much more information in a much quicker period. So actually the trend helps us to digest much more information.” She insisted the change is user-driven, an organic shift that was obvious by looking at the numbers.

Not all agree with this opinion and I certainly still spend a lot of time typing. I will note that my learning habits have evolved significantly and I now watched in the last year more educational video and listened to more pod casts than I have read books in all my years combined.

Text is surprisingly resilient. It's cheap, it's flexible, it's discreet. Human brains process it absurdly well considering there's nothing really built-in for it. Plenty of people can deal with text better than they can spoken language, whether as a matter of preference or necessity. And it's endlessly computable -- you can search it, code it. You can use text to make it do other things.

In short, all of the same technological advances that enable more and more video, audio, and immersive VR entertainment also enable more and more text. We will see more of all of them as the technological bottlenecks open up.

And text itself will get weirder, its properties less distinct, as it reflects new assumptions and possibilities borrowed from other tech and media. It already has! Text can be real-time, text can be ephemeral -- text has taken on almost all of the attributes we always used to distinguish speech, but it's still remained text. It's still visual characters registered by the eye standing in for (and shaping its own) language.

We also now use video as a highly effective story telling device on our websites, visit our latest website gallery page and see for yourself.

If you would like to add video to your site, give us a call.


Original article inspired by:

Kottke.org
QUARTZ

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