Social Media: Longer or Shorter Content?
First there was Vine, Snapchat, and Tiktok. There was also Youtube, Facebook and Instagram.
All these platforms gave people a way to tell a story, teach something or just show something interesting. But as these platforms became bigger, niches were developed within them. This is especially true with Youtube. You can now find different sections of the site dedicated to cooking, DIY, music, gaming, and so many others. However the amount of time that each genre has on average in video content varies greatly. But also the amount of time a person replays or revisits that content also varies from genre to genre.
Let’s take the cooking videos for example. You can find many cooking videos on Youtube today that have different styles to portray what is being made. The most typical kind is the traditional type where you have someone with prepped ingredients in front of them talking through the recipe while they make it-a walkthrough. A little “TV magic” is used to speed up the process but it is on average a typical length video of 10 minutes, which is a very common length in Youtube. However, that has minimal cut scenes in comparison to a 30 sec video or a 60 sec video. Take this video for example: The Best Lemon Poppy Seed Cake Recipe | with Homemade Lemon Curd & Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting! by TatyanasEverydayFood.
It is a classic example of any cooking show or video that can be found on any TV network or online. She walks through the recipe and cuts to different shots to show close ups of the food and her technique. The video is short but not the fastest video since most of the process is shown. Another type of video is where the speed of the video is increased further and the commentary is taken out completely like in Kachori Recipe quick and simple by Food Fusion. The commentary is replaced by music and the video is sped up to include more cut scenes so that the video gets straight to the point at an increased speed. You can also find the same type of video at a slower paste without the music like in [No Music] How to make Boiled Dumplings by Peaceful Cuisine. There are still many cut scenes but it is a slower paced video that focuses straight on the recipe but with the sounds of the kitchen as well.
All the above video styles can be used in almost any kind of content but then it makes you wonder how people view their time. At the beginning of this post I mentioned the multiple platforms where video content is posted but now let’s look at the progression. Videos are typically posted with short lengths when they are not lengthy or complex in nature like an educational video may need to be or even a vlog may be. The majority of videos can be said to be around 10 minutes (feel free to correct me on this) but then why did quick content become popular with people recently? Tiktok has become a giant in <60sec videos on the internet. So much so that other platforms need to compete and therefore copy the interface. It also says a lot about how much time people want to spend on a single video that is meant for pure entertainment and distraction from their own life. It’s the opposite from what you would think. Shorter videos in larger quantity show that people want to spend more time skipping through to find something interesting online but not necessarily to spend more time on any single video that is long in nature unless they have committed to the topic before hand, like if they were doing research.
People would rather do more in a longer span of time such as swiping through and searching for good content rather than landing upon a longer video and committing to that. It shows the nature of the human to be impatient rather than curious in the jungle that is social media. But this concept really only applies to a large group of videos but not all videos on the internet because there is a lot of content out there which speaks to many different traits of people. Streaming services don’t necessarily follow the same scheme that I described here either. The point I want to make is that the way people value their time when watching quick content is to take in more in less time. So does that mean we value our time more or does it mean we have less time to spend committed to a single piece of footage?
I can say this for sure, the need for an escape from our routine and responsibilities is of value which is why people watch a variety of different things. So naturally the amount of time spent on that escape will depend on how much of a break one can afford.