Friday, November 11, 2011

I like to read.

Logging on to the Internet has become such a regular part of my life, it's really second nature.  Remember the old days when computers were merely word processors? Black screen with green text monitors and 56k RAM (128k for the richies).  If you were lucky, you could play a game or two on one.  I could even say at one point I was a computer programmer.  I programmed our computer to display the word "love" all across the screen with a few simple lines of code.  Oh, I was good.  Not really, everyone could do that.  It was the one trick I think we all knew. 

The film "War Games" was so futuristic with their fancy computers playing chess and potentially starting World War III.  How scary was that?!  

Then time passed.  We as a society were able to own personal computers, laptops and cell phones. And Tom Cruise showed up in "Minority Report" using his nifty computers sweeping his hand across them to move icons and images around on the screen, navigate between windows, etc.  So futuristic! And a few years later, here we are with our little handhelds sweeping our fingers across the screen all Tom Cruise-like without giving it a second thought.  That Tom Cruise - so crafty!

We can navigate life on our computers or phones with ease, find information so quickly all without ever literally flipping a page which may result in a oh-so-painful paper cut. 

There are a thousand reasons why e-books are great.  It saves paper for one.  (Which in turn saves trees, and doesn't fill out landfills with biodegradable paper material (wait, so now we have to dispose of electronic material?  Which I am pretty sure is not biodegradable.)). Okay, I'm not even going to go there.  Instead, I want to make this point:

I like to read.  Remember the days before youtube, vimeo and video posts?  When you could go to a website, read all about whatever you wanted, look at some pictures, search for text?  Ah, those were the days.  I could skim through an article with lightning speed to decide if it was worth my time to read the whole thing or if it in fact contained the information I was seeking.  I could create a picture (or movie, if you will) in my head bringing the author's words to life.  I could ponder the art of the word and wonder how someone could so skillfully put their point of view or the facts on the page.  Because of an author's precision and attention to detail of their craft we'd never be distracted by a typo or misspelling.  Sigh. 

Now, when I log on to a webpage and a video offers to welcome me, I cringe and usually leave the page.  I don't want to wait for it to load.  I don't want to wait for it to buffer.  If you want to keep my attention, let me read!  I will gladly give up time to skim your text to decide if it's worth sticking around.  I might even play your little video if I can at least determine if it's going to be important.  How can I search your video to find if the content is worthy with a simple Command+F (or Control+F)?  To my knowledge this is not possible.  If I want to know about the latest Red Carpet mishap, let me read about it and show me a picture - don't send me to some video where I have to wait for someone to report it to me.  I mean, how much information is there on that anyway?  One sentence, maybe two would be sufficient and hold me over until the next mishap.  Please!

These video posts not only make us lazy, they make "writers" lazy too.  Is it because nobody reads anymore?  I can rarely get through a news article without typos, misspellings, horrific grammar, etc.  And I know I make these mistakes too.  I'm not perfect.  But I'm also not reporting the news, posting to a massively viewed page, or getting paid. 

I love technology.  Film is a part of my life in more ways than one.  I enjoy sitting down and watching a great film in any format of any length.  That is an art in itself which I am grateful for on so many levels.  Television is wonderful and a great escape from reality (unless I'm watching a reality show - which in and of itself is not really real anyway).  I will sit my bum on the sofa and watch for hours at a time sometimes.  I am not opposed to watching things. 

But I'm not there yet when it comes to Internet videos.  Maybe one day I will be there and wait for your video to load to tell me all about whatever is on your website, but I'm not quite there yet.  I'm retro that way.  I like to read.

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