Are Words Dying Out?
Photography by Ell Field.
I'm back today with a more 'thoughtful' post (i.e writing about something that's been on my mind that has nothing/very little to do with the photos I share alongside it). These types of posts, as opposed to posts about fashion and style, tend to be my favourite ones to write and tend to be received the best upon sharing so you'll probably be seeing much more of them on my blog. I've even created a new category to my blog called 'Thoughts & Musings' to allow myself this space on my blog, so do head over there after reading this post to read more of these types of posts. Also, final sort-of disclaimer before starting the post, you may have noticed that I haven't been posting on my blog as much recently, which isn't down to lack of wanting to do so but a lack of time as I have been working A LOT. For now, my aim is to get up a blog post once a week on Sunday evenings but don't be surprised to see an extra post up (probably on Wednesdays or Fridays) on the weeks when I'm working a little bit less.
Anyway, let's move on to the discussion point of this post, something that's very close to my heart, words. I've always been a reader and a writer, both in and out of school. As an English Literature student, I spend most of my time doing these two things during the academic year and as an avid reader and someone with a blog, I spend most of my free time doing the same two things. I simply love words (hence the name of this blog), whether I'm reading them or writing them. But in an age where most of our communication and entertainment is in the format of photos, videos and even voice-notes, are words simply unnecessary? As you can probably guess, I'd argue against this and although I love Instagram, Netflix and Snapchat as much as the next person, I get the most satisfaction through reading something that is above the 140 character (or is it 280 characters now?) limit and writing something longer than an Instagram caption.
This post isn't designed to be an insult to anyone who doesn't enjoy reading or writing because not everyone does, and I'm not going to act all high and mighty just because I do! To my shame, I'm really not interested in anything remotely science-y and I even find Blue Planet (maybe stop reading now if you're a big fan) pretty boring. Everyone has different interests and they're definitely not always as simple as preferring English to Maths or History to Science but sometimes people simply do not like reading or writing and that is fine. The problem today, in my opinion, is that many people don't know whether they do or not because today's fast-moving, visual-orientated society doesn't give them a chance to find out. When I was listening to The High-Low podcast the other day (10/10 would recommend), someone sent a question in asking about how to improve their attention span in order to be able to read for longer, worried that social media had essentially shrunken theirs. The discussion that ensued following this was so interesting. Pandora and Dolly discussed how social media essentially provides quick-fixes to everything, allowing you to consume so much varied information in one go, which is perhaps why the 'task' of reading one book that is on one topic sounds like too much and boring for many people. After this, they thankfully assured their readers that it is impossible for our attention spans to 'shrink' and that, with practice, almost anyone can become an attentive reader. Despite this, it is still interesting to think about how social media is changing our habits and our ways of thinking.
Even as someone who loves to read I still find myself reaching for my phone rather than a book 90% of the time, a habit that I'm trying to change, and skipping through articles to the 'important bit' and ignoring most of what has been written. I think this is part of the way modern life is becoming more and more fast-paced and social media is obviously becoming such a big part of it. Since starting my blog I've found that I'm on my phone even more now but, because I use social media to promote and go alongside my blog, I can kind of count it as being productive. And it is a lot more productive and positive than it used to be, but I know that turning to a book or an article would be much more beneficial for my brain and my mental health than scrolling through Instagram for the 20th time that day.
Finally, I wanted to discuss how the gradual death of words is affecting blogging. I only started my blog a few months ago but it's already clear to me that people would rather scroll through my Instagram than scroll through my blog, which is fine because scrolling through my Instagram is less time-consuming and probably a quicker way to get to know me and see what I've been up to. Does this mean that blogs are going extinct? I don't think so. I think/hope that there will always be people who love to gobble up words as much as I do and therefore blogs will always be able to survive through them, if not on such a large scale as photos do on Instagram. I think there is an element of compromising as well because putting a blog post up without photos is pretty much a no-go, which is saying something in itself. This can sometimes be annoying for me because sometimes I want to discuss something and don't have the photos to go with it but I also understand this need for a visual aid and enjoy it myself. I compromise with this by just adding photos to a blog post that are, more often than not, unrelated to the topics that I'm discussing. And this seems to go down with readers of this blog just fine!
So until words truly do die a death, which I know the book-lovers of the world would never allow to happen anyway, I will continue writing on this blog, whether anyone reads it or not! And if you are someone who likes reading or writing but perhaps has fallen out of it, there's no time quite like the present to start again- you could even take a look at my blog post on the best holiday reads for some reading inspiration! I'd love to hear your thoughts on how social media is affecting our reading and writing habits and maybe even some ways to ensure that you still get your dose of words in the comments or on social media.