May 21, 2007

POTS -- Plain Old Text (sites, services)

Atif Rafiq, in an essay called "In Defense of the Text Web, writes that:

"[I]t’s simplistic to believe that anything produced in text today can be better consumed in video. The written word is and will remain the optimal form for a lot of content. Yes, the same news story can be transformed into news video. But the relevance of one over the other is a function of user needs."

Atif is right. Lost in the shuffle of innovation (and hype) related to video, photos, and music are the myriad of services arising to take on the challenge of plain old text in an online world. Such as digitizing it. Organizing it (here too). Contextualizing it.

Faster, cheaper bandwidth has allowed the promise of streaming media to be finally realized, which has provided numerous wonderful services to proliferate. It has also allowed new, just as impressive, products and ways of thinking about text data to be developed.