Uncover untold treasures by diving more deeply (courtesy of Daily Mail)
“If it’s not all on one page, I’m not going to read it.”
“Hey, is there a 2 minute video to show me how it’s done?”
“Don’t give me your grandmother’s story!”
“Give it to me in 60 seconds – or less.”
I’m sure we’ve come across the above situations before. We want all the facts at our fingertips. And fast.
Make it short and sweet. Summarise, summarise, summarise. After all, brevity is an advantage.
As you’d imagine social media isn’t helping things. We’re taught that a “punch-them-in-the-face” headline matters more than anything else. We’re educated to fill our content with the right keywords. We’re instructed to include a picture (or 3) designed to maximise the “ooohs” and “aaahs” from our fans, followers and subscribers.
In a world where many (including yours truly) suffer from ADHD – thanks to the potent combination of social, local and mobile technologies – is there a need for us to dig into the details?
Why should we still visit libraries if everything is available on Google? Isn’t reading a book a complete waste of time since we can just “cut and paste” from blogs, slideshare presentations and YouTube videos?
I believe that there is still tremendous value in the long form. While bite-sized (and byte-sized) snippets can whet our appetites, they are hardly enough for one to understand the nuances, intricacies and complexities behind a particular train of thought.
Created to maximise “shock and awe”, much of the content on social channels are “sound-bites” that are ephemeral in nature. Like puddles in a field after a rain, they’re fun to splash around in but lack the sustenance that a lake or river does. And when the Sun shines brightly, they dry up, often without leaving a trace.
On the other hand, in-depth content makes us sit back, ponder and reflect on what we’ve read, viewed or listened long after we’ve completed the journey. There is a positive afterburner effect which stays on in your heart and mind, leaving a deep emotional and intellectual imprint long after we’ve consumed the content.
Although a greater amount of time and energy is required to create (or consume) an epic work of art, science or commerce, one is rewarded with a greater sense of accomplishment. This deep level of involvement elevates one to a higher plane, transcending the superficial to attain the spiritual.
There is also value in stilling our hearts so that we can focus on one thing at a time. Indeed, concentration is one of the most undersold virtues in the digital age.
By investing our time in a lengthy enterprise, we pour our heart and soul into the activity, immersing our being into that very special world. As we focus fully on that extended endeavour, we will get into the “zone” (or the flow), shutting out the noises, distractions and temptations that besiege us.
To produce a longer-form piece of content, we need to orchestrate our thoughts and ideas in a coherent manner, structure them in a logical sequence, and embellish them with sufficient points of interest to sustain our audience. It has to be curated and choreographed with the right elements in place. Discipline, determination and sacrifice is needed.
While the going will no doubt be tough, at least in the beginning, the fruits that one ultimately reaps is often worth the blood, sweat and tears. There is nothing like seeing one’s work of art completed and ready to be shipped.
Do you agree that we should dive more deeply in this day and age?