Short Form Media
By Madi Woodbury
For a while now, both Millennials and Gen-Z have received a bad-rep for being “children of the internet” and being “consumed” by our iPods and phones and laptops and basically any form of technology someone put in front of us. It’s true, Millennials and Gen-Z do spend a considerable amount of time on the internet. But how can we not? It’s great there. However, I really don’t believe it’s the amount of time we spend on the internet that got us this honorific title, I think it’s the specific type of media we consume. Short form media, popularized solely by the apparent generational attention deficit for anything longer than a minute.
Short form content is characterized by being short, as the title suggests. This can include emails, flash fiction (as long as its shorter than about 1200 words), blog posts, and short videos. Short form media is the same concept, but is focused on videos, specifically those that are less than a minute. Hopefully this is ringing some bells, but if it’s not, I’m talking about the icon Vine (rest in peace) and younger Tiktok.
The benefit of short form media is that is can be widely spread and remembered, you watch a video twice and you understand the timing near perfectly of what made the bit so funny and can apply it to the next conversation you have. These short form media bits work their way into our everyday vocabulary, and it quickly becomes second nature to whip these references out of the ether the moment an opportunity arises. If you see a “Road Work Ahead” sign, your instant reply is “Uh, yeah, I sure hope it does” (if you say you don’t reply like that, you’re a liar).
Our brains, as a generation, are now wired to consume short form media in mass quantities. I could watch multiple 10+ minute vine compilations (you know the ones, “Vines that butter my coruscant” *chefs kiss*) or scroll on TikTok for an uninterrupted 3 hours without batting an eye. But if someone asked me to sit down and watch a 10-minute lecture or a video on a single subject… I will be promptly zoning out and retaining a fantastic 0% of whatever it is. That’s not to say I don’t want to pay attention, it is just my brain likes the rapid-fire pace of the short form media humor.
Honestly, some people think this is a bad thing. I really can’t see why it would be, we’ve practically created our own language and can communicate solely through Vine and TikTok references. I could make a reference to a Vine or TikTok and my friend could do the renegade and we’d be perfectly in sync and not miss a single beat. I just think it’s neat.