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      I love text as much as the author does but, sadly, Instagram, SnapChat, etc. are demonstrating that most people may feel differently.

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        They may feel differently, but I don’t think that changes the thesis. I can find posts I wrote on the internet in 1996, but I can’t find videos I posted to Facebook last year.

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          Can you find text you wrote on Facebook last year? Different issue, I think.

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            Good point, but I do think it’s easier to preserve text than video. At the present time, the copies of videos that I want to preserve are living on my SSD, and on my Google account. How long will those last? Do I need to be making backups to SD cards? How often would those need to be refreshed?

            Meanwhile, the writing that I prefer to preserve can be printed onto paper or even memorized and later reproduced perfectly. It’s just a more efficient and reproducible medium.

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        I think there’s a reason for that. I see a 57 Chevy driving down the street. I can tell a friend “I saw a 57 Chevy”, or I can send a picture of it to a friend. The picture is likely to be a lot more interesting to them. InstaSnapBook are in large part about building shared experiences. Pictures are pretty good at that. 1000 words could probably work too, but I’m not going to sit there and compose 1000 word essays whenever I want to share on update.

        (It also neatly solves the “OH RLY?” problem. :))

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          Someone could send me a picture of a ‘57 Chevy and I would have no idea what it was. “Why are you sending me a picture of an old car?” But if they used text, I would “get it”. I saw a NeXT cube at Powell’s books in Portland. I had never seen one in the flesh before. I sent a picture to my computer nerd friends, but I had to explain, using text, the significance of what I had just seen to my girlfriend.

          What I’m trying to say is that I agree with you, but only to a point. Shared experiences are contextual. Seeing an old car or a black cube with a logo on it isn’t an “experience” if you don’t know what it is or what its significance is. For people who understand what they are seeing, a picture offers a superior experience. But for people who don’t understand the context around an image, text is necessary (at least to augment the image).

          The advantage of text, however, is that it actually gets the point across to both groups. So if you have to choose one or the other, you should still choose text.

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          Though, in any quick conversation, “I saw a 57 Chevy”, despite its brevity still emits a picture and will perhaps lead to a discussion. Text is winner in the sense that it is flexible.

          You wouldn’t use 1000 words to describe the Chevy - most of it is very uninteresting to many people anyways and they will just glance at the picture and not get into all details.

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        That’s not sad; text doesn’t need to be all things to all people in order to retain its usefulness. What is sad is that Facebook, Twitter etc have provided no good way to pass around an immutable chunk of styled and decorated text, so people have adopted pictures of text instead.

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      Ugh, this post attests to the degradation of human communication that our systems are encouraging.

      Text is the most efficient communication technology.

      This is true from the perspective of electronic storage - NOT human time (far more valuable, storage is cheap) for many types of communication. I despise having a casual SMS conversation with someone who I haven’t communicated very much with before, as neither one of us knows what is humor, sarcasm, actual ignorance etc… We share too little context and we get little more than a few scraps of often incorrect assumptions. Voice allows for a far more rapid convergence when discussing plans and a far more educational experience per unit of time when communicating to learn more about the other person. Text suffices for simple logistic arrangement without a short-term time constraint (I hate it when someone texts me when they are at my front door instead of calling, as I am conditioned to treat all text as asynchronous and not time-sensitive.)

      Yeah, text is great for technical communication, but it’s fucking horrible for social communication. We need better systems for having high fidelity immersive shared experiences with other humans, and many types of interaction are starving today due to the suffocating restrictions of popular communication machinery.

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        It could be because I grew up (well, starting from high school) using AIM, but I find text very good for social communication. With other people who use it well, it has a lot of nuance and is a good way to have deep conversations, especially about topics people might be shy talking about in person. Now that, at least in my circles, social use of IM has declined and people more often just do videochat, I find myself missing the IM style of social interaction.

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          Completely agree. I type quickly, and I write fairly well, so it can be frustrating to me trying to convey information via voice chat (which can’t be archived effectively or searched) because people “want to touch base.” I remember having hours-long IM conversations ranging over vast swaths of territory… the asynchronous nature of the medium was useful.