Talk To Me – Part 1
Talk To Me
Written By @BryceBladon
The language audiences listen to:
The amount of time people commit to an unsolicited video on YouTube is mere seconds. Twitter limits outgoing tweets to 140 characters. Emerging social media platforms such as Tumblr have a built-in focus on minute messages; the reblogging of text, photo, and video is rarely accompanied by more than a by-line from the original creator. Rarely will an essay be reblogged when an easier to read infographic, graph, or cartoon is available. Facebook, the titular titan of communication trends, gives you enough space for a novel in your status updates – but it won’t show more than the opening sentence or two in people’s newsfeeds. It’s easier than ever to reach an audience, but that podium can be ripped away by a bored gaze or an errant click. Ads are plastered on every inch of the Internet and every flat surface is a potential soapbox. Now, more than ever, it is important to say a lot with a little. That’s all you get – and if you have a well-crafted message, that’s all you should need.
The most effective language is one that is simple and precise. A stop sign communicates an order using four letters, a colour, and a particular shape. The addition of a triangle to a symbol is the difference between an uneventful trip to the can and a lawsuit. The Christian Cross communicates an entire set of ideals. The modern incarnation of this can be seen in the logo. Did you know the most known word in the world thirty years ago was Ok? The second was Coca Cola.
Words are the next evolutionary step in communication. Language is a precise way to communicate a message, but that precision comes at the expense of brevity. Like a picture that’s too detailed, the point of a oratory or written message can be lost in the extraneous details. The grace of a writer is often measured by how long it takes to communicate an idea. As Mark Twain remarked in his more casual letters, “I didn’t have time to write you a short letter, so I wrote you a long one.” Similarly, the easier the language is to understand, the more effective the message. When William Faulkner remarked that Ernest Hemingway “…has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary,” Hemingway remarked: “Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?” It takes craft and skill to communicate a lot with a little.
From grunt to grin to the written word, communication comes in many forms. Film may seem like the latest evolutionary synthesis of text, talk, and image, but this blend of mediums to communicate is nothing new. Plato‘s Allegory of the Cave uses all of these tools to communicate an idea, a theme – heck, an entire (and persisting issue of) philosophy. Few people claim Plato is a breezy read, but his message has been around for a few millenia – and that says something, doesn’t it?
No matter what your medium, the key to effective communication is simplicity. Essentially:
What are you trying to say?
What’s the most concise way to say it?
What’s the most effective way to reach your audience?
Next week, we’ll examine how this philosophy of a minimalist message exists – and succeeds – in the certain aspects of the film industry
Part 2 is already posted. You can see it here: Click Here