Every other headline out there today promises to break topics down into bite-sized bits. “4 Ways to Be a Better Leader,” “8 Steps to a Healthier Lifestyle,” “16 Abuses From the CIA Torture Report” — it seems as if no topic is too serious or nuanced to undergo “snackification.”
Like Cheetos and M&Ms, these articles lend themselves to mindless consumption. There is nothing wrong with them in moderation, but at some point, you start to crave something with more substance. Today’s readers want more than listicles and clickbait, and this is driving meaningful change across the digital publishing industry.
The fact is that the human brain loves lists, or really any content that “positions its subject within a preexisting category and classification system.” In the maelstrom of Internet content, we are drawn to articles that make clear promises for what we will get out of them, as well as those that do the “chewing” for us so the information is easily digestible.
However, snackable content also precludes depth. The act of breaking topics down into small pieces and making them as accessible as possible prevents them from getting beneath the surface.
Readers are starting to seek out information that has real value to them. The tide is moving away from 140 characters and ephemeral photos, and toward long-form specialty content.
Readers are tired of this, and are starting to seek out information that has real value to them. Contrary to mainstream thought that content is shrinking, the tide is actually moving away from 140 characters and ephemeral photos, and toward long-form specialty content.
+Commentary: This is truly music to our ears to hear someone say what has always been close to our hearts. One can look to a resurgence in episodic hour-long dramas in entertainment, with perhaps fewer reality programming on the menu. Or even to a movement of slow-cooking, that doesn’t necessarily involve a Crockpot. A returning to basics, something that will take up your whole field of vision, and not make you twitch a finger for just a moment.
Quality is scarce these days, whether it be in pop culture in general or the universe of social platforms online. We live in times fraught with social strife, perceived ‘polarization’ and endless hyperbole. Everything screeching louder than the next to get your attention.
Let’s hope as this year wind’s down we can see the wind that has buoyed the sails of these many viral content mills, attention-grabbing headlines, non-stop political circus with PT Branum level sideshows, see a collective return to things that matter. To the things that sustain us and not distract us.