End game of digital: looking & talking instead of reading and writing.

March 19, 2010


Screens, screens, everywhere a screen…

What’s the end game to all this?

By “this” I mean integration, convergence and social media. By this I mean the explosion of Twitter, Facebook and You Tube and the implosion of newspapers, magazines, and books. We now have Iphones, Imacs, Ipods and Ipad and I can’t count all the rest. So where’s it all going? What’s the end game?

I’ll give you a hint. In India something called Bubbly is creating a stir. In case you haven’t heard –heard being the operative word- Bubbly is just like Twitter, only users speak words instead of tapping them out. Users listen to words versus reading them. A half million trendsetters in India are using Bubbly today. What about tomorrow…and the next day? I ask again: What’s the end game? Where’s this going?

Need another hint? Fine. This one comes in two parts. 1) The advent of screens. Flat screens. Kindle. Nintendo. Smart phones. Wii. Our world is now revealed to us via screens. 2) The end of print. Newspapers, magazines and books (as we know them) are going extinct. Not if but when. And when may be a lot sooner than we thought.

So…

This is the end game: we (meaning everyone in the world) will stop reading and writing and begin only talking and watching. I’m not here to bemoan it or criticize it or rail against it. I’m just saying it. Most everyone in the world will stop reading and writing. Most everything we do will be done via audio & visuals. Entertainment and communication are leading the way. Education and business are right behind them.

But screens are merely the gateway. With the advent of 3D and holographic technology, even they will go away. It will just be Us projecting to Us.

I’m a reader and a writer, and have been all my life, so don’t assume I’m down with this. But I am getting used to it. We all are. Things like Kindle, Iphone and Bubbly break us in. Books become antiques, heirlooms and decorations. Like the rotary phone, we almost forget they ever existed. This isn’t good news or bad news. It just is.

I understand some of us will never embrace the talking and watching world. Maybe you belong to this group. So what? Like me, you’ll be dead in 50 years. They’ll play a video at your funeral.

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2 Responses to “End game of digital: looking & talking instead of reading and writing.”

  1. The thing is, the talking and watching world is still going to need people good with words. The rumor is, the actors on movies and tv shows have some help talking pretty from screenwriters.

    I would argue the talking and watching world is going to be very good for talented writers in our profession, because you’re going to need people who can really achieve an engaging dialogue with potential customers. Better yet, branding communications will be a real dialogue. Instead of a one-way conversation we called dialogue back in the day as a handy buzzword.

    I do think, however, the writers in this business who get by on visual solutions and a headline or two now and then are going to struggle to remain relevant.

    So, us “copywriters who can write” may have a time in the sun in the very near future. Though we may not be “writing copy” per se. With that in mind, I’m planning on buying a couple of books on writing dialogue after I finish up with a couple things I’m reading now. On my iPhone kindle of course.

  2. SRP said

    Mark-
    Something about “writing pictures” feels about right, future-wise.

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