Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Why Reading is a Flawed Dying Technology with Ed Castillo

Presenter: Ed Castillo, CSO, NY, TBWA\Chiat\Day
Hashtags: #DodoMedium

The title of this talk was just too good to pass up. Castillo admitted right off, he named the talk purposefully to get people riled up. Folks are touchy about reading; it's a sacred cow. Before anyone could light a torch and grab a pitchfork, he clarified: Curling up with a book is an artistic experience. That's not what he is talking about. He's talking about reading as a form of communication.

First, is reading dying or is it simply flawed? Castillo asked, are you reading less? If the answer is yes, that is support for the idea that reading is dying. He argues that it is also flawed.

If the intention of writing, speaking and gesturing is to communicate, then writing just isn't as good as other visuals. Writing is an imperfect medium for communicating. It's a point that is hard to argue with. We know the best form of communication is typically face-to-face. Little of what we are communicating is in our words alone, so how can writing do our message justice.

Castillo said, "I’m not trying to burn down the libraries..." If that's a reference to the future of books versus other media, I say, "Don't worry about us, Ed, we're way ahead of you."

Libraries have been thinking about the evolution of communication and our role in the changing media landscape for decades. But often we cling to traditional styles in our own communications.

In libraries, we use writing as a default mechanism for relaying information. How and when could we find other ways to communicate? I think there are a number of obvious answers worth exploring, but I also think this question could lead to some interesting discussion about new opportunities to communicate with our users. 

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