How many times have you heard, “The movie was good but nothing compared to the book?” Or how research always seems more thorough when reading articles instead of watching fluffy YouTube videos? After years of bite-sized, visual content dominating our screens and shrinking attention spans, people are realizing once again just how foundational and versatile text really is.
Because text and writing are seeing a major resurgence and comeback right now – just look at the recent Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) strike that halted all Hollywood productions over the last five months! Writers are a critical part of the creative process, and even billion-dollar movies can’t get by without them.
With that in mind, here are 10 reasons why text is having a big moment in the spotlight again:
1. Backlash against short attention spans
After almost a decade of bite-sized image or video content on platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok, folks are getting fatigued. Our attention spans have gotten shorter thanks to video clips just seconds long. But now, many are seeking out opportunities for deeper thought and discussions that only text can provide because long-form writing allows a more nuanced exploration of topics versus what a 15-second dance trend or a 60-second soundbite can offer.
2. Appreciation for the craft of writing
People are gaining a renewed appreciation for excellent writing. Whether it’s a novel, blog post, film script, or even a tweet or Reddit post, quality writing stands out.
After years of quick videos and photos dominating, well-written text reminds us of the effort and skill involved in writing. From screenwriters fighting for fair compensation in union strikes to viral tweets getting book deals, writing is being recognized once more as a true craft and art form.
3. Back to basics on social media
Many popular social media platforms like Twitter, Reddit, and even TikTok are going “back to basics” by incorporating more text-focused features.
Twitter is expanding long-form writing capabilities. TikTok just introduced text-only posts up to 1,000 words long, too. And, of course, how can we forget about Meta’s Threads? After exhaustive image and video features, social media is circling back to good ol’ fashioned words in many ways.
Check out what Viral Nation’s Travis Hawley (Head of Retention and Engagement), Samantha Centofante (Licensing Content Specialist), and Nina Cuturilo (Social Media and Branding Lead) had to say about TikTok’s introduction of text-only posts.
4. SEO still favors text
Search engine optimization best practices still put quality written content above all else. Keywords, meta descriptions, alt text, and other textual elements boost rankings much more than flashy videos or photos alone. Providing alt text for images even improves the accessibility of your content for those with low vision and anyone who is unable to view images on the page while also providing additional context.
So brands wanting visibility turn to writers to create blog posts, guides, and other articles – which only fuels the demand for top-notch writing skills.
5. Writing loads faster than video
With more and more people concerned about mobile data usage, text has a clear speed advantage. Web pages with minimal images and video load far quicker than multimedia-heavy ones. Text posts also consume way less data making them more accessible for those on limited data plans.
This perk has renewed appeal given recent restrictions on data usage from platforms like TikTok and growing worries about reaching data limits. Not to mention the exorbitant overage fees your phone carrier may charge you for going over your data limit.
For example, in Canada, the “Big 3” phone carriers will charge you if you go over your monthly data plan, sometimes at overage rates of $15 per 100 MB – that’s $150 per GB!
6. Nuance and descriptiveness
As the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words” – but sometimes a thousand words are exactly what you need. Despite the power of visual content, in many cases, writing can communicate the nuance and details that images and video simply cannot.
Text’s inherent descriptiveness makes it ideal for explaining complex ideas or telling stories that can’t be condensed into a few-second clip or an image.
7. Fostering discussion and connection
Text-based platforms like Reddit, Twitter, and even Discord foster discussion unlike anywhere else. Their commenting and reply features allow conversations to unfold and communities to form around shared interests, while the visual content that has monopolized other platforms leaves little room for meaningful back-and-forth. So the text-first experience feels like a throwback to old-school message boards with a spirit of genuine connection.
Even on dating apps like Tinder, most people start with a simple text message!
8. Writers getting paid again
From Twitter’s new monetization features to Substack newsletters and author patron programs, writers are finding new and exciting ways to actually earn income from their work again. After years of “exposure” payments and writing for free just for the byline, scribes are (rightly) demanding fair pay. Publishers and platforms are listening by implementing subscription models, tipping, and other ways for quality writing to be lucrative once again.
And it’s not just social media, either! As previously mentioned, the recent Writers Guild of America strike halted all Hollywood productions back in May but after more than 140 days on the picket lines, the WGA strike ended on September 27 with sweeping changes on pay, AI, residuals, view-based streaming bonuses, data transparency requirements for streaming platforms, and more that could fundamentally change how Hollywood operates moving forward.
9. AI expanding text possibilities
AI advancements are greatly expanding the possibilities for generating and personalizing text. Tools like ChatGPT make creating everything from poetry to code to marketing copy as easy as typing a prompt. And natural language processing allows for nuanced conversations with AI.
As AI improves, producing high-quality writing will become more accessible to anyone – not just professional wordsmiths.
10. Enduring value of words
Despite technological advances, words remain the building blocks of ideas and human thought. For millennia, writing has allowed us to record histories, make lasting impacts, and connect over shared experiences. Videos fade, images blur – but words endure. Their unmatched longevity and universality give text an authority that short-term trends simply can’t replace.
So while bite-sized, visual content certainly still has its place, text and writing are not obsolete – far from it! If anything, the core advantages of text and writing only become clearer as flashy new media types come and go. As people realize the foundational value of quality writing once again, text is reclaiming its rightful place at the heart of communication and human creativity.
- After video/image domination, text is making a comeback thanks to its versatility and lasting impact
- Backlash against short attention spans has folks seeking deeper engagement through writing
- Even social media and SEO still rely on quality text as a core foundation
- Writers are finding ways to monetize their work again through new subscription models
- AI advancements make generating all kinds of writing accessible to anyone
- Despite technological shifts, text endures as the eternal building block of human ideas
So for both practical and philosophical reasons, the enduring power of the written word is being recognized again in a big way. Text still provides a level of nuance and permanence no TikTok clip can replicate. We may skim and scroll, but words continue to be the lifeblood of communication.