Written Communication vs. Visual Communication

“Written truth is four-dimensional. If we consult it at the wrong time, or read it at the wrong pace, it is as empty and shapeless as a dress on a hook.” ~ Robert Grudin

Robert Grudin, received a PhD in Comparative Literature, and wrote books about the Time and the Art of Living, The Grace of Great Things: Creativity and Innovation, and On Dialogue: An Essay in Free Thought. He well understood our human frailty and helps us to understand how to not be so defenseless against the daily tribulations that face us.

“Written truth” meaning non-fictional educational books, in this instance, is the cornerstone to higher education. Yet, “written truth” is only part of how we gather information in visual communication. The written word, known as “meaningful content” on the Internet takes precedence over website graphics. Website graphics and editorial illustrations illustrate the content, and that in itself tells us that text ranks higher in website hierarchy. Even though “a picture is worth 1,000 words,” the written message is still more intelligent and is the most accurate way of communicating online.

Written communication is good, but it can never replace face-to-face verbal communication. Words can easily be misunderstood due to questionable written tones; and so often, the meanings of the written words are easily misread or misconstrued and are wide open for misinterpretation.

There are many benefits to reading, but to portray a personal “written truth” at the wrong time and place can alienate others. Text messaging is great for casual and brief (non-emotional) communications, but it is not an appropriate place to communicate about private and confidential matters. In fact, if you respect a person’s privacy, you should try to contact the person and set up a time to talk or in the least, mail them a letter through the post office.

Even though visual communication is a less direct way of communicating, most people rely on this form of communication and wouldn’t trade it for the world! Visual communication adds another layer of information in our communication with each other, and perhaps that is why we cherish our vision so much. Therefore, we have several ways to communicate with each other–whether it’s written, visual, or verbal communication, think first, communicate second. (revised 2/15/2006)

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