Are Written Words Dead? Duh, You ARE Reading This

Video is king, they say, in social media. A “picture is worth a thousand words” has been echoed for centuries. And we get it, nobody talks about caveman blogs, just drawings. But, you SCROLL Instagram. It’s a book with written words that you TAKE to the beach to read.

That last line, I adapted from a blog that Ann Handley had written on this topic.  She wrote it and I read it. Now I rewrote it and you read it. It’s the circle of life.

What set Ann off was a quote attributed to Kevin Systrom, co-founder of Instagram. The key part was the belittlement of our profession that “Writing was a hack, a detour.” He feels pictorial language is the way to go. Like pictures on his social media platform.

A hack? A detour? Should we remind Mr. Systrom that he needed written words to get that message out? And this being Sunday…

The Ten Commandments were written by God upon two tablets of stone and then given to Moses on Mount Sinai.

Is he saying the big G was a hack? Would not be surprised if everybody at Instagram just took two steps to the side to avoid a lightning bolt.

Written Words vs Pictures

Seriously though (as if a lightning bolt from Heaven isn’t serious enough), I get the point that “visual” communicates faster and with more impact.

And most recently, we saw the images of the father and his baby daughter who both drowned in the Rio Grande River while trying to cross the border between Mexico and the United States.

But as terrible as that picture is (which is reason enough not to post it here, but you will see it if you click the following link), you still needed a story with written words to deliver the details. No caveman drawing. No social media picture could provide similar background info.

So you watch that “how to” video tutorial but remember, a script with written words was needed. Or you listen to that podcast but know that the hosts read a lot of articles that week full of written words for discussion topics.

And, yes, I did use a visual to highlight the blog. But is it the picture or the written words that best deliver the message?

Are Written Words Dead?

  • The pen is mightier than the sword.
  • The power of the printed word

The written word is here to stay. I will stick with those as my mantras.

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