Speedaters of Storytelling

With Covid 19 pandemic spread we all are now grappling with a new way of life with the digital media being our lifeline.

Today if someone asked when was the last time you moved your eye away from your mobile screen what will be answer? But more importantly is how much time you spent on what you read uninterrupted before “bouncing off” to next?

In this always-on digitial world, we are bombarded with information from all across and our brain has got used to jumping from one content to another. Scientific evidence based on various research has proved that the attention span is changing, the study by Microsoft (https://ind.pn/2DASIxt ) found that since the start of the mobile revolution in 2000 the average attention span dropped from 12 to now 8 seconds.

As attention spans decrease, consuming media in bite-sized pieces gains preference and this digitised lifestyle is making us the speed-daters of storytelling. Platforms are trying to get our attention through various new tools to catch attend.

Yesterday Twitter started testing Fleet a new way to start conversations for the what they call fleeting thoughts. Unlike a regular tweet, Fleet disappear after 24 hours and don’t get retweets, likes, or public replies.

It was in 2016 when Instagram Stories was launched allowing the user to share all the moments of the day, not just the ones you want to keep on your profile.

The always-on generation is hyper busy and surrounded by options. They want to do too many things in the compact 24 hours, and are flooded with options, hence they prefer snackable content – which is short and crisp but powerful and engaging.

With the availability of content on the tap comes a new set of challenges for content creators vying for readers attention. No wonder content creators are working on models to create work that lasts all of few seconds like a Twitter Fleet or Instagram Stories or Whatsapp Status. Last year Facebook launched the “Thumbstoppers Challenge” to transform storytelling on the brief of driving behaviour change in less than 10 seconds. People now have more things to focus on – but often focus on things for short periods of time.

With mobile as the biggest driver of content consumption media, the challenge for platforms is to create content which may retain eyeballs on the screen.

If contemporary approaches to learning are to be successful, platforms must take advantage of new formats to catch on the short attention. Today the Gen Z likes S-I-N-C (Short-form, Influencer-driven, Native and Co-created content) and are creating their own snackable content. Platforms like TikTok, Sharechat, Instagram are capitalising on this.

If earlier one communication could be shared across multiple platforms, now the challenge becomes more as distraction are higher and one has to find stories that are Thumbstoppers. Good stories don’t take time, remember The Gold Fish is moving.

(all images courtesy Google search)

Anup Sharma (@TweetsAnup)
The author is a StoryTeller with two decades of experience in Public Relations and Corporate Communications. He is also the Senior Director at Public Relations Consultants Association of India.

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