Thursday, September 3, 2009

Tell, Don't Show

Recently several friends upgraded to the latest and greatest in cell phone technology which includes video capability. Now I routinely receive short clips of the cat, the beach and anything else that strikes their fancy.

All this live-action contact made me wonder – does a picture really say a thousand words?

Thirty seconds of the cat sleeping under the hosta was charming. A clip of vacationing friends at the beach made me jealous. Interestingly, all I received in my email inbox were the video clips with no written commentary accompanying them.

How often are G3 phone users letting video do all the talking for them? While I enjoyed receiving the videos, the lack of words was interesting. One particular friend is a reporter and words, or the lack thereof, will never be an issue. However other friends are somewhat verbally challenged either because they are shy or they communicate best in other ways.

So I wonder – will short video clips replace telephone conversations? Instead of my friends calling or emailing me to tell me about the cute kitty, will I receive only video from now on?

And what about that vacation at the beach? How did my friends feel about their time together? Did they form closer bonds as a family? Did they do anything other than sit on the beach? Why was Grandmother sitting off by herself?

There is an adage in writing – show, don’t tell. However, the opposite can be said for the current video rage. It shows a lot but doesn’t tell me much.