Culture The Internet

Twitter as representation of the relevance and value of “Word People” in oral culture


Via Lucy Bellwood.

It’s interesting to divide the internet into Word People and Image People because the Internet is a modern evolution of oral culture — and technological/bandwidth limitations have enabled text to serve as the leading means to transfer information online up till now, when more direct oral presentations (podcasts, video streaming, video) become a feasible way to distribute more of the pool of information.

I’m reading The Shallows, which highlighted our modern era of mass reading as an outlier that may fade away:

We are now seeing such reading return to its former social base: a self-perpetuating minority that we shall call the reading class.

— Griswold, McDonnell and Wright, “Reading and the Reading Class in the Twenty-First Century,” Annual Review of Sociology (2005)

They see two options for readers in society:

  • Gaining “power and prestige associated with an increasingly rare form of cultural capital”
  • Becoming culturally irrelevant and backwards with “an increasingly arcane hobby”

Recent Pew research on media trends:

Many Americans Get News on YouTube, Where News Organizations and Independent Producers Thrive Side by Side

Nearly a quarter of Americans get news from podcasts

More Americans are getting news on TikTok, bucking the trend on other social media sites

Who doesn’t read books in America?

By Tracy Durnell

Writer and designer in the Seattle area. Freelance sustainability consultant. Reach me at She/her.

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