‘If You Bet Against Text, You Will Lose’

From the weekend reading file: I love Tim Carmody’s response to a Facebook executive’s prediction that “In five years time Facebook ‘will be definitely mobile, it will be probably all video.'”

Video and audio have never threatened text and images for dominance on the internet, despite Facebook’s best efforts. Even if we set aside the high production costs (we can assume it will get cheaper over time), good video and audio are still more difficult to produce, because both require the right physical conditions to produce them. Smartphones certainly made it easier to shoot video — the rise of the selfie and novelty entertainment like face-swapping have helped, too — but I am writing this blog post at a place and time that’s inhospitable to creating video or audio. It’s the same reason why the phone call began to die off just as open office plans were embraced: you now have to sneak into a stairwell, hallway or conference room in order to call someone in private. Texting became more convenient.

A social network alone — even one as powerful as Facebook — can’t make video the dominant form of communication. The devices we use and the physical world where we live and work will have to change in order for audio or video to truly take over.