The Written Word: 5 things that will disappear in our lifetime

30 Apr The Written Word: 5 things that will disappear in our lifetime

A few weeks back, I got an email with the subject line: “Ten Things that will Disappear in Our Lifetime”. I guess that’s a pretty vague statement, since my lifetime won’t be the same as yours. Small details aside, as I read down the list of those ten things, five had a common theme:  they all involve the disappearance of the written word, or “text”. Here they are:

  1. The Post Office
  2. The Cheque
  3. Joined Handwriting
  4. The Book
  5. The Newspaper

See, we’re so hooked into computers now that we simply don’t need all that written stuff, because we don’t seem to read much anymore. Sure, some folks might say they prefer reading, but research says otherwise: most of the world is watching video.

Seems we’re not reading that much, and most of us don’t actually write that much either. We type, we text, we talk into a speech-to-text app. So… what’s to write?

The post office is dying because of two things: emailing and couriers. That’s killed most of their business. All that’s left is delivering bills and payments.

And cheques aren’t needed because we pay by credit card or we pay online these days. If you do want to pay by cheque, you can even do that online now.

And handwriting… who needs it? With no cheques to sign and no one to deliver letters, who needs handwriting?

Books? Newspapers? Seems most folks would rather sit on the couch and read their iPads, than actually go and get something to read. Plus, they’ll have to pay more to have to do all that extra work!

I know: that hurts. So much good stuff in our lifetime… gone like the horse and buggy.

Necessity is the mother of invention. Over the last millennium, the written word evolved for one main reason: there was a necessity to communicate ideas across large distances. And the written word was only so good at doing that.

Over the last century, with the evolution of audio and video production, the written word is slowly being squeezed out. Why? Same as the horse and buggy. It didn’t do nearly as good a job as what it was replacing. Eventually effective design trumps ubiquitous tradition.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve always been an avid reader. And a horse and buggy ride has always been a special occasion I truly enjoy.


But when it comes to effective marketing, text is quickly being replaced by video.




Mike McCurlie
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