The written word is dying…

Maybe if this post were a video, more people would get the message. Also, no, there will be no pictures on this post.

This is a trend across all media that has me scared. More and more websites are shifting their focus from writing to video broadcast. I believe the reasoning is that more people will ‘click’ on a video review than a written review. It’s easier to digest the material and there is something to look at while getting the message. This, apparently, is a big enough thing to phase out writing, and I really don’t like that.

Writing is just as much of an art form as video and I would argue it is has a deeper impact. But that is another post for another day.

This may seem a little ironic, but I’m a video guy. It’s what I’m majoring in. I love video. I work with it almost every day and I know the impact it has on our daily lives. We turn on our TVs in the morning and check the morning news, chat with relatives far away via Skype, videotape your child’s first steps. It has its place in our lives and continues to grow into a more vital part of our regime. However, is it enough to phase out jobs where people write for a living?

This gets me to the main reason for why I am writing (and for the first time in some time.)

One of my favorite websites, Gamespot, just recently laid off a few of its employees. The reason? Well no reason was given, but there has been a trend in the video game market (and the interwebs in general) that points to a rise in video content thanks to sites as YouTube and Twitch (Twitch is an online streaming service where people and broadcast their games to a worldwide audience.) Google (which owns YouTube) has been at the forefront of this trend and recently purchased Twitch for a measly one billion bucks. So this trend is undeniable. Although sites like Gamespot have embraced video content, they still had a decent amount of written reviews, news, etc. Apparently it was too much to continue to hold up the amount of employees at Gamespot. So they laid off a few of their employees because of it. Is it the company’s (in this case, CBS Interactive) fault? I don’t think so, I believe it’s the consumer.

Scripps also recently ditched it’s entire newspaper division to focus on broadcasting. So it’s not just the internet, it’s across all forms of media.

So, how does writing stay relevant? Well, the short answer is: it can’t. Well, it can, but it relies on the consumer. Unfortunately, the consumer wants these YouTube videos and streams of the game being played over reading an article about the product. You could make the argument that the two can co-exist which I completely agree with. However, how often do YOU read the description of the videos on YouTube?

I obviously love the written word. I believe much can be interpreted from a well-written article. Character can show just as much in a written article as a video. However, I believe that the written word is something that is dying a slow death as we go more towards podcasting, audiobooks, video content, etc. The fact of the matter is that our lives are so fast anymore that no one bothers sitting down and reading a newspaper or read a book. They’ll play an audiobook in the car, or turn on a news podcast. Writing is going the way of the dinosaurs. It’s an art form that is struggling to stay relevant. Although there are some places where it will continue to thrive (let’s not forget, video content often follows something that the creator wrote.)

I will continue to write on a daily basis because it is something that I truly care about. If not for writing, this blog would not exist, nor would my passion for news. Hell, I don’t think my passion for video would be as strong if it weren’t for writing.

Now, that I conclude this post, the question is: how many actually read all the way down to this point? This illustrates the problem because I don’t believe I should have to ask that question. Fact is, people look at the length of an article and go “Eff this!”

Luckily, I don’t have to cater to a certain demographic because I don’t get paid for this, so I can do things the way I want, and the way that I believe that it should be.


Signing off.

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