I often get into conversations with people who have this idea that the digital age has killed the written word and replaced it with this mass menagerie of mind numbing content filled with videos of cute cats and people falling off of bicycles to the stabbing jeers of their fellow peers.
I don’t disagree with this. In no way can anyone claim that the digital age has not provided the world with an un-ending supply of useless information. However I disagree that it is killing the written word. True that we do not pen long winded letters expressing in as much detail as possible the exploits of our life for the last month. True that written text from the younger generations is as legible as spilled alphabet soup but, the point is, they are still writing. In fact they are writing more than ever
A huge part of communication today is the written word. Think about it….Need some help
1. 400 million tweets per day. That’s 5.6 billion characters typed per day (including spaces and other characters) (http://www.mediabistro.com/alltwitter/tag/tweets-per-day)
2. There are approx 294 billion emails sent per day (Radicati Group)
3. Approx 2 million Blog posts per day (Enough words to fill Time Magazine for 770 years) (http://www.digitalbuzzblog.com/infographic-24-hours-on-the-internet/)
So there are some very basic stats to show you that people have not forsaken the written word…they are just typing it.
The next point is this idea that there is no ‘Meaning’ left in words. People just use the online environment to distribute junk and that is all. Every day billions of people communicate with one another. They generate ideas, share their emotions and create lasting relationships. They have conversations about their day. They do great things and severely stupid things. Take a look
Tweets that ended Careers:
1. Representative Anthony Weiner: Should not have tweeted those pictures
2. Octavia Nasr: Watch what you say
3. Mike Bacsik: If you are going to be ignorant at least be articulate
4. Vanderlei Luxemburgo: Too late…you said it
(See who else lost it on twitter: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/15/10-careers-derailed-by-tweet_n_877894.html#s292991&title=Vanderlei_Luxemburgo)
Power of the written word?
1. Lady Gaga has 29 587 166 followers on Twitter (Twitter.com)
2. Richard Branson has 2 489 157 followers on twitter (twitter.com)
3. While you are reading this there will be an approximately additional 315 667 tweets for every minute (https://dev.twitter.com/discussions/3914)
4. Barak Obama holds the record for tweets per subject per minute at 52 757 (He also happens to be the president of the USA – in case you were wondering – just Google it)
There is a level of integration happening in the way humans communicate that is unprecedented. Everything we do is immediate, instantaneous and capable of relaying emotion and sentiment as if we were standing next to each other. Social integrates with business, business with social and everything in between
Not only has the written word not disappeared or lost power it has become ever more relevant in our society. From Twitter, through emails, facebook, to SMS we use the written word everyday and in mass quantity. True it gets butchered a little in the spelling process, but it is more empowered than ever.