Is short-form video really anyone’s preferred creation medium?

I’m thinking about media, and the various forms it takes. And specifically, I suppose, how and why people who are creators choose the form of creation that they choose.

Are we drawn to a medium that we love, inherently? Do we search for the best medium for whatever it is we have to say? Or is that choice simply a response to the consumption trends of the time?

I especially wonder this with the prevalence of short-form content. Does anyone really love making these videos? Sure, they’re well-suited to things like short skits, but do people find passion for making tiktoks the same way someone would find passion for screenwriting, or sculpture, or poetry? And this is a genuine question that I ask out of curiosity. I’m not trying to denigrate the medium, especially because there’s some good stuff out there. But so often I see creators who are making tiktoks or reels often trying to push people towards longer form video essays, or songs, or podcasts, which seems to be where their true interest in creation lies.

Which can maybe feel sad, right? Certainly, it feeds into the narrative that “attention spans are lessening” and that nobody can sit down and watch a one-hour youtube video as opposed to the constant dopamine hit of tiktok after tiktok.

But I think that kind of thinking fails to consider the humanity and real-life circumstances of the people consuming this content.

First off, there is so much stuff out there! There are so many new songs, so many video essays, so many blog posts, so many people talking about things I’m interested in in so many forms all over the internet. It’s simply impossible to keep up with, let alone discover, all of it.

Second, there are a lot of times when someone has a few minutes on their phone, but not 40 minutes to listen to a podcast episode. So obviously media that caters to that is going to be a first choice.

People are clearly still watching and engaging with long-form content, so let’s not kid ourselves that it’s not happening. Jenny Nicholson’s three-and-a-half-hour video about a theme park has almost 9.5 million views. So let’s not kid ourselves that people are only interested in tiktoks.

But maybe it’s the best form of discovery for all forms of media right now? Like a demo of a video game, you get a short taste of a broader experience and then get to decide for yourself if you want to invest the time in diving deeper.

But while that all makes sense, it’s still about content consumption and maybe doesn’t address my initial question of, does anyone really love making these videos?

I don’t have an answer to that, but I’d like to. Talk to me in the comments, send an email, DM me on whatever dumb social media platform, let’s have a conversation.

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