Do you enjoy YouTube?
I do. There’s a startling array of stuff on there which covers any and all topics and I’ll be fairly sure that more than one of us has meant to just watch a couple of videos on a particular topic and in the blink of an eye, you’re four hours in and watching all kinds of weird and wonderful things.
Now that isn’t the point I’m trying to make but YouTube has highlighted to me an interesting idea. Which are the most popular videos, the long ones or the short ones?
It seems that we are at a point where all we’re interested in is the tiny snippet of information, the quote, the clickbait or the soundbite. The longer the piece, the less interest they seem able to drive.
When writing my books, yet another little job that was much weightier than I first considered, was the blurb on the back. I had to get my point across but in only a maximum of one hundred and fifty words. There wasn’t the space nor the possible interest to go mad. Instead, the blurb is there to be the hook to entice the prospective reader in so it can’t be a drawn out piece in case the reader were to get bored.
Do we just want the short sharp shock of the information and not have to really work at it? Have we all just got used to the idea of the snippet? Could it be that we are all more aware of our own consumer power so believe that we shouldn’t have to waste our precious time. You want me to pay attention, hook me fast or not at all.
Every time I write posts on here I’m aware that I do have the habit of using lots of words but how often do we see quotes from people as that which gets passed around our society. Hemmingway has all manner of these snippets flying around. One of my favourites is “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” That said, when I was looking up the details about it there was a large amount of debate if it was actually him that said it.
So is that the fate of the snippet? It may be incredibly sharp and incisive but there’s nothing to really grab hold of. It may mean that for a short time you’re the toast of the town until, all too soon, your amazing words are being attributed to someone else.
All in all it’s just a question of being honest with what I have to say. Rather than hunting for the perfect soundbite, the most well formed sentence, I’ll just keep on doing my thing and hope that my point doesn’t get lost along the way.