Why speeches still matter (sez me, in my latest Huffpost, on what I've learned in a year of editing Vital Speeches):
The social utility of speeches is undiminished by technological advances such as YouTube, Twitter and even the Kryptonite of rhetoric, PowerPoint. There comes a time—a crisis in confidence, the crescendo of a debate (and, yes, commencement season)—where everyone knows: One member of the society has to screw up the courage to stand naked before other members of the society and share what he or she believes is true. The act is significant for the same reason it always has been: The audience has the speaker outnumbered and can accept or reject the speech before, during or after its delivery.
And the more communication tools we have to hide behind, the more the public speech comes to matter.