Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Heartfelt videos in times of Reels


It was my brother’s 40th birthday in the year 2017. To make it special, I collected several photos of him, wrote a funny verse, found an apt song, and made a video of three minutes and thirty seconds. I uploaded the video on YouTube for easy sharing. That video had 200+ views and gained a lot of praise.

Yesterday, it was his wife’s 40th. I love her even more and so I made an even better video for her with several songs, pictures, and even short clips of her dancing in between. It took me a long time to make this four minute thirty second video. So far, it has 40 views and, obviously, very little praise.

What has changed in the last five years? It is certainly not my talent – I combine perfect words with pictures and songs. On thinking about this unfortunate statistic, I realized that we are living in the times of twenty second stories, thirty second Reels, forty second Tik Tok videos, and one minute YouTube shorts.

We desire quick entertainment even though if you look at your mobile phone consumption, it has increased by leaps and bounds. We want to read our news in 280 characters on Twitter and not long essays describing everything in detail. We want to ‘read’ a book on Audible while we walk so that our time is utilized well.

I wonder how Ekta Kapoor is still managing twenty seasons of the same television series! Maybe, this is a trend for millennials and beyond. The boomers who watch news channels with repeated breaking news multiple times a day still have attention span that lasts longer than thirty seconds.

Technology is reducing our attention span and how. We require instant gratification. If we desire a food item, we have an application that will deliver it to us within minutes to satisfy our craving. We don’t have to wait for the weekend, we don’t have to drive, we don’t need to step out – it’s instant. If we don’t check our phones for a couple of hours, wee feel uneasy and anxious. Our mental health is going for a toss!

Coming back to decreased attention span, I am sure it is affecting our cognitive abilities. Do you remember a thirty second reel for someone’s birthday? You wouldn’t. But if you saw a five-minute video for a friend’s special occasion, it might be able to make an impact and you might remember it for years to come. It just goes on to say that we watch these short clips with an absent mind and never register what is said in them. While when we watch a longer video, we pay more attention and remember it for a long time.

Now I don’t have studies to prove it, I am sure Harvard, Yale and Columbia must be on it! But I can surely say it from experience that my failing memory is not just a consequence of aging – it is this desire for short gratification time and reduced patience for anything worth its while which gives my mind less time to register anything that it can memorize.

No, I am not old school to make four and half minute videos. I am just trying to give our generation a moment to think about what they are doing to their mental and cognitive abilities. Think smarter people, think smarter and use technology to your benefit.

1 comment:

Your sweetness makes my day. Gentle criticism will be taken in the right spirit too :)