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Speed of information

June 1, 2009

Speed of information – or – don’t kill my Intarnetz!

Browsing through news that’s relevant for me, through the excellent Google Reader, it’s becoming increasingly common to see audio and video links show up.

I realise why there’s an interest from the publisher of the information to create a stronger emotional bond, and the possibility for some exclusive variant of the content, through more advanced (?) means of communication. There’s indeed a difference in how we respond to information depending on how it reached us.

However, the enormous difference between plain text (as in this blog entry) and audio/video is that the former is consumed in various different means, while the multimedia transfer is dictated by the publisher. I’m not talking about repositioning of text (reading everything in the same setting is nice) or the possibility of automatic real-time translation – but the rate at which it’s possible for me, the consumer, to absorb the information presented.

I’m somewhat of a speed reader, and thus I can consume information through reading text several times faster than I can consume that same information if it’s presented in audio or video-format. I can also scan the information presented quickly and judge my interest in it if it’s presented in textual form.

These two facts together has led me, without having made an active decision (this post is a reflection-of-fact), to skip almost all information coming down the tubes if it’s not presented as text. I’ve seen a few, but not many, publishers presenting a text-version together with their audio/video-links – which is much appreciated but will likely need automation to be successful.

As always, it seems Google is one step ahead of the game. Google Voice transcribes voicemail to text, and it’s possible to search for phrases in Youtube videos. When will old-media-trying-to-turn-new-media catch on? It’s about the information, not your fancy camera work.

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