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In a climate crisis, text should be default option for communication

In a climate crisis, text should be default option for communication

Video is harder to control than text. It’s harder to browse, to navigate, to search, to pause. Text gives you more of an ability to go at your own pace and to take just what you need. When you need a very specific piece of information, video is a real pain.

It’s also time consuming and expensive to create video. There is, of course, a place for it, but it’s frustrating to hear nonsense like “people are visual”, “nobody reads” etc. etc. when text is such a flexible, efficient and incredibly sophisticated means of communication.

By Gerry McGovern. Originally published 22/08/21.

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Replies (11)


@leonp That brought to mind how immediately after 9/11 news sites went more or less text only for a while. It was the only way to successfully deliver news to millions of people with way less Internet capacity than we have now. [As I write this, I find it hard to believe — others who lived through this, please confirm.]


@Miraz I seem to remember no internet being available at all on the day – at work we watched the coverage on TV (and I worked at a telecoms company), and then when I got the tube home everyone was reading a copy of The Evening Standard – in silence.


@leonp Here in Aotearoa New Zealand we watched on TV and listened to the radio. Even back then I didn't bother with newspapers. I must have been doing something on the Internet though to recall the text-only approach.


@Miraz different times. I was working on the computer, with my yahoo! home page open -- at the time that was the best all-around portal to the internet (different times #1). I had to place a phone order (different times #2) to a company in minnesota. while we were working out the order, the lady at the other end of the line kept making comments i couldn't understand. finally i asked her "is something going on?" that's how i learned about the attacks. to follow further, i dug out and plugged in our transistor radio (different times #3) to follow the story. at the time, their coverage was better (i think it was cbs news' radio feed) than what i could find on the internet (different times #4).
we didn't (and don't) have a tv: i suppose if we had this story would be very different.


@JMaxB Do you realise that was a mere 20 years ago (next month). Life is now different in so many ways we wouldn't have imagined.


@leonp I'll always prefer text! Like you say, it's searchable, easily quotable, uses less bandwidth, you can go at your own pace, etc. I'm sure that the so-called "pivot to video" had more to do with advertisers than actual user preferences.


@jayeless Yes, I think that’s true. It’s also popular because a video is a shiny thing that you can point to and say here’s something we produced.