Social Science - Other

Will Written Text Survive as a Communication Medium – Yes



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The written word is one of only two methods of communication that has stood the test of centuries, and one which will remain for centuries to come. It is right at home in print media and remains a dominant form of communication in the malleable, ever-changing, incorporeal electronic realm.

Far too many people propound the idea that the rapidly-advancing electronic age signifies a death knell for written communication. Quite the contrary. In fact, the technological advances we now enjoy have come from mankind's desire to improve the way written communication is created, preserved, and shared across social networks.

It may be more accurate to ask, Will "print" text survive as a communication medium?" First, one must define what "print" means today and what it may mean for future generations. Print today is text and graphics imprinted onto some type of tangible medium, such as paper, metal, plastic, or fabric, or any other composite. Realistically, this definition must be expanded to include digital and analog displays as well. In doing this, it is possible to answer the original question in the affirmative. Written text, by whatever medium it is promulgated, will not soon be replaced as a central form of communication.

In ancient days, cave drawings, smoke, and musical instruments were subjective and culturally proprietary forms of communication. As man has become more civilized, developed shared languages and alpha communications, and has sought to inhabit every available space on the planet, those earlier forms of communication have taken a back seat to oral and written communications designed to bridge cultural and linguistic boundaries, just as sign language, another form of written communication, words written in air, bridges physical boundaries between the hearing and hearing-impaired.

Certainly, as our ecology continues to change and the more traditional composite materials like paper become less readily available, "print" media will take on new forms, and words, whether set down in electronic type or imprinted, will be needed. The written word is and will remain fundamental to the preservation of humanity's history and to the continued acquisition and dissemination of knowledge among peoples.

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