Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Balance between Words & Pictures

A picture is worth a thousand words.

I for one am an adherent believer of this statement. However, there are some limitations to it as well & the conflict erupts when a picture is used to overpower the strength of the written word. This I feel is happening a lot more these days. It feels that the attention span of people is reducing by the day, something that for me does not really indicate the result of a higher evolution. 

A few days back, while discussing ideas for how to get maximum traffic for the Pakistan Sustainability Network, a fact that came across was that a simple random picture of a spoon got around three hundred hits & if any of our blog posts get these many hits we might just hit the roof ourselves. (And NO, we don’t do boring stuff). This episode instantly took me back to Gary Shteyngart’s novel ‘Super Sad True Love Story’. A story portraying the future ultra technology oriented world, where the main character Lenny Abramov, is being looked down because he reads real books & has a ‘wall of books’ in his apartment; instead of just streaming the stuff & covering the main points. In one of the chapters when he is on a flight & opens his book, the passenger sitting next to him tells him that the book has an awful smell!!!

Not really a bright picture.

The point is not to state as to which way of expression is better because there are things which can’t be compared & this is one such point, where comparison is pointless. The concentration point is the loss of balance. Skimming through material can work at times but for in-depth understanding one needs to get in detail. There is no alternative to this. A lot of misrepresentation results because people don’t bother to go below the surface and discover the details and then analyze them. All this requires proper attention span and concentration. In this age of technology, to ensure that this advancement is used for proper progress, people need to return to a balanced position, only then we can move from the complaining stage to solving the problems stage. 

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