How important is the written word in times of big data and digital change? Some voices on the net claim that the written word has regained importance . Time to take a closer look at this thesis.
To answer the question of the significance of the word, I ask myself the question: What else is important in the network? If you look around in the digital world, you quickly realize that hardly any medium or content gets along without pictures. This phenomenon brings with it a gigantic flood of images: 250 million photos are produced worldwide every day. Many of them end up on social networks like Facebook or the photo-sharing platform Instagram . But also image databases like Flikr are flooded daily with a wave of new images.
What works better: word or picture?
In view of digital photography and mobile phone cameras, together with ever-improving global networking, this development is not surprising. The question is whether a picture can even be effective in this huge flood of images. In other words, does it make one word better?
The answer is yes: You definitely have to make an effort with your pictures to avoid disappearing into the stream of data. The images must be of high quality and meaningful. This is not so easy. So what is the pain of the picture, is the joy of the word?
It is clear that really important and relevant things are always (still) written down. It used to be like that and has not changed until today. That makes, in my opinion, the calls for the renaissance of the written word superfluous. Because who writes, stays. And in the memory of their target group.
Different usage of the written word
But I think that the written word is used differently today than it used to be – especially in terms of the length of the texts. Page-length (newspaper) articles have become a rarity. Twice already on the web. A blog post usually has less than 1000 words, a Facebook post consists of just a few sentences and a tweet has a maximum of 140 characters. But nevertheless it is written on all these platforms.
Because with words you can express your opinion much better than with a picture. Words give a structure a structure and shape it in a way an image could never. That’s why the written word will not disappear!
The written word can not be without a picture
This brings us back to our initial question: what significance does the written word have in times of big data and digital transformation? I think the written word has a high priority – but the picture too.
Reality also shows that in most cases the text is necessarily linked to a picture. There is no either-or. Because both text and image have their strengths, but also their weaknesses. Together they are unbeatable. In my opinion, they can only move together in the fight for attention in the endless sea of data. When one part weakens, it pulls the other into the sinking. Those who want to swim at the very top of the data wave in the World Wide Web must write good, smart and authentic texts AND support them with equally good, clever and authentic images.