(This isn’t about the news media, but about internet — mostly social media and blogs — and how people use it poorly.)
Day after day, I see image files with words typed on them, links to YouTube videos for words and information, and worse. It boggles my mind. Yes, there are actually text-only YouTube videos (an ironic example). And yes, people create and post image files with only text (example).
The really ironic thing about this is how much easier it would have been to just type the text. Especially on Facebook or your blog where you have to have the text editor open anyway just to post the image file you typed on.
One thing I won’t complain about is YouTube videos that are really just audio files. While there are sites where you can host your own audio, few of them are incredibly well-known and none of them have the star power of YouTube. (But it was while searching for one of these that I decided to complain about the rest.)
1. If all you have to pass along is text — words, numbers, symbols, punctuation — then use a text format for it. This could be a blog entry or Facebook post if it’s long, or a Twitter update if it’s short. You have one of these three already, and chances are you’re posting on one of them.
(Even if Twitter is all you have, and you need more than 140 characters, there are options besides text-only images:  multiple tweets, or  TwitLonger.)
2. Audio files are best for when hearing something would be better than reading it.
3. Image files are best for when seeing something would be better than reading about it.
4. Video files are best for things in motion, or when combining audio and images (musical accompaniment to a slideshow).
To accurately describe a video like Evolution of Dance in words, it might take a book. So a video is better. The same is true for babies laughing. Actually seeing video of babies laughing is much more funny (or irritating, depending on your temperament) than reading the words: “Some babies were laughing.”
Reading the words “Tonight’s sunset was crazy beautiful” doesn’t compare to seeing a photo:
July 23, from my back porch
(Copyright © 2014 by Wil C. Fry. Some rights reserved.)
As for audio, it’s almost irrelevant in today’s internet world, other than music tracks. Even then, many people are just as likely to watch a video of their favorite song. If it’s just the spoken word, nine times out of ten it could simply be typed. Notable exceptions might be learning another language, a comic’s impeccable verbal timing, a child talking, or the funny sound your dog makes. Still, many of these are just going to be videos today, even if the visual aspects aren’t worth it.
I can’t understand why so many folks are getting it wrong today.
Just a note about the image at top right: The words alone are sad. But when they’re on the image, they take on a double-meaning that some might find humorous. That’s acceptable because it fits the definition of #3 above.
These thoughts entered my mind as I was looking for a suitable site to which to upload a few audio files I had. Sure, I could have made videos instead, but that’s a lot of bandwidth I didn’t feel like using for when audio told the whole story.