The anxiety that word-people feel about the end of Twitter isn’t just about Twitter (tho it is that too!) — it’s also about our declining relevance on an internet that has turned largely visual with a side-helping of audio.
— Alexis C. Madrigal (@alexismadrigal) November 3, 2022
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: