In this age of the internet, we are consuming information twenty-four by seven. Smartphones have put in our pocket an entertainment & education system unlike any in the history of humankind. From watching videos on Youtube to reading Einstein relativity paper on blogs – there is something for everyone on Internet.
One of the major reason for the instant success of smartphones is its ability to provide rich multimedia at a click of the button. It isn’t rare these days to see people in social situations (in metro or in a party) absorbed in their phones. Their eyes glued to their screens. Enjoying a movie or a music video of their choice.
With the rise of smartphones and video-sharing platforms that provide diverse content types, success of videos over the written word looks eminent. This has put forth questions on the relevance of blogging (and other written content on the Internet)?
Is Writing Dying ?
This isn’t a new question.
When radio and television became popular they completely revolutionised the way we consumed media. Even then the skeptics had started asking the same questions about the relevance of written form. Writing demise is near, they used to proclaim. So, it isn’t surprising that skeptics are asking such questions again.
But writing didn’t lose its charm then, nor it is going to lose now.
Evolution role in the tussle between watching and writing.
Humans have a greater affinity to watch and listen than Writing (and Reading). Writing has come much later in the evolution timeline. The early men had relied on using their eyes to watch and ears to listen to tackle their day to day challenges. Our sub-conscious processes are programmed to process information much faster in these ways. The processing required to listen and watch is very less. The same is not true for writing.
Evolution didn’t favour us with writing or reading instincts. We acquired it recently, only three thousand years back. Hence, we are not as fast when it comes to writing. It takes effort to pick up a pen and write out thoughts on paper. Or read a story as compared to watching a movie.
Energy conservation is also to blame. Reading & Writing requires more energy than any other communication. So people tend to opt for the easier route. So when internet brought the capabilities to watch and listen at the click of a button. Youtube became our preferred more of media consumption.
But writing and reading are here to stay.
And the major reason for that it no other communication medium ignites our ability to think and imagine, the way writing does.
When we write we force our mind to concentrate on each line. We focus on an experience or a thought, chew on it, until it takes a life of its own in our minds. It becomes a world in itself. A world that is living, blossoming, thriving within you.
And this act of creation, lits up every atom of brain the way watching a Youtube Video can never do.
The same is true for reading.
When we read we are able to take in information in chunks that maybe slow, but in a size that is assimillated better by our brains. Unlike watching a video where we become a passive viewer after sometime, when we read we live every sensation, every emotion in our minds vicariously – through the experiences of others – as if they are our own. If you want to test this idea remember the last time you were reading a good book. You lose track of time, and start living in a whole different world. But the same is not true if you are binge watching on NetFlix. After a few episodes you just become a passive consumer of the information. And that is not good!
Also, writing strengthens the memories and the learning associated with it. It improves our ability to imagine and recall. And these are the qualities that are favored by evolution. And evolution will continue to favor it. Because creativity is fundamental to humans. And so is everything that promotes it.
Now writing can only be doomed only when a technology or evolution change can help us achieve all the benefits of writing without actually writing. Maybe we develop a device through which we can communicate via our thoughts. Without the need of written word. But that looks unlikely for a long time now.
Till then, writing is here to stay.