Tweet out a joke on Twitter or make a funny video on Vine or Snapchat? You may not know it but you are engaging in the hippest form of communication today: short form content.
Ben Huh, the CEO of Cheezeburger, a network of humor websites featuring short form content says, "The six second format, the short form content, the 140 characters, what it really says is that we continue to snack on information." Huh says this is the case because widespread use of mobile media devices have impacted what kind of content we want to watch and create.
"If you're looking at a tiny little device in your hand, you're not going to watch a lot of big feature films on it because you don't have the attention span because you are outside in an environment," says Huh. This means you may not want to watch the reboot of the Batman film series on your iPhone, but you may want to watch the very popular Batman parody, BatDad, on Vine.
The six second format put on Vine users is what Huh says leads to creative freedom because users must embrace the constraints around them. "Creativity comes from breaking a rule, breaking through a format, breaking through some restriction you have on yourself."
The idea of form and media is nothing new. The late media and communications philosopher Marshall McLuhan, once surmised, "The medium is the message," an idea that was developed by McLuhan during the proliferation of radio and television. Huh says that statement still holds true when it comes to the proliferation of communication on the internet.
"The analogy I use is we used to eat deep dish pizza all the time," says Huh. "What's happened now is that we use a lot of thin crust attention because
things are spread out over a larger surface area."
Reason TV caught up with Huh at the 2014 South by Southwest Interactive festival where he gave a talk called "The Form Factor is the Messenger," taking a look at how connected devices from 4K TV to wearable technology affect what kind of content we will consume in the future.
Featured Snapchats and Vines by Sethward, Will Sasso, Tyra Banks and BatDad.
Written and produced by Paul Detrick. Shot by Todd Krainin and Alexis Garcia.
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