I saw something funny the other day, so I took a picture of it and sent it to my girlfriend.
Being the sort of person who always gives things a second thought, this got me pondering. Sending that photo meant I never had to tell her the story behind it.
I wonder how often this happens. No longer do we have to explain things to people. We can simply show them. Apps like Snapchat and suchlike have made it easier for those experiences to be shared instantly.
Connected or disconnected?
In a short space of time, it’s already become a cliché that the more technology finds ways of connecting us, the more distant we become from each other. Texts are less person than calls, yet we don’t ring each other anymore. Emails, texts, and Facebook messages all allow us to put off conversation until we feel like it. We no longer enjoy the spontaneity of the unexpected phone call, the random banter, or the quick catch up.
I’m not a complete Luddite, but I do wonder what we are losing as we move into a more technological era. And now that we can communicate with pictures, are we going to lose the need for words all together?
A picture says a thousand words
Do pictures allow us to convey meaning more effectively, or simply more quickly? If I’m honest, I’d say that watching TV is much easier than reading a book. That’s not to say that the former is more enjoyable, or better, than the latter. It’s simply that, to watch TV, you just have to have your head pointing in the right direction. You can all but switch off, your eyes can droop, you can dribble if you want to. A book is something that requires far more brainpower.
So it’s not surprising that we’ve looked for ways to make it possible to communicate in pictures.
Are we leading an assault on the written word?
Sometimes pictures are a more logical way of communicating. The health symbol is internationally recognised – much better than everyone having to learn the words for hospital in every language on the planet. But when the object of the conversation isn’t just to tell someone something they really need to know quickly, shouldn’t we savour the process as much as the result?
We don’t read a book just for the last page, do we? The journey is important.
Once upon a time
Occasionally sending a picture makes sense. It eliminates the need for those awkward stories that end without a laugh and you trail off with ‘Well, you had to be there’. But sometimes, the joy of an event is in the retelling. If it’s a funny story, why would you want to share that remotely? In person, you can share a laugh, you can expand on the scenario. Conversation is socially bonding, it brings us closer together.
Unlike a picture message, where all you get in return is ‘LOL’.
Are picture messages killing storytelling? Would you prefer to see a picture of an event or be told about it?
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