Why does Gen Z like faster and shorter content?
Why can’t people read comic books but can read memes the whole day?
Why can’t people read study books but can study on YouTube?
During the recent lockdown due to COVID-19 (It seems like 91!), I had started reading books to calm down my mind. And I had started with books of Yuval Noah Harari, The god of evolution writing! And one day, my grandfather came over and said how surprised he was after seeing some 20-year-old reading a 500 pages book. And I asked him, “yes, it is surprising that I am reading a book, but why 20 years old?” And that was my worst time to ask that question because it was evening. And he started to explain to me why he was so amused.
I will write his exact words. “See, Harshil, there were no mobile phones, laptops, and tablets in our time. We were too curious because we won’t get answers with a single click. We have to read the whole dictionary to know a single word where we have to go by the first letter is S and then search through all words that start with s in the world. We were happy when the second letter was A. Like you were happy when you didn’t have to click S in the old Nokia 3010 (where you have to click four times just to write one S). And time by time technology evolved and humans got faster, homo sapiens became gen Z.”
So, I didn’t understand much, but then I researched how people are distracting and people like short content. And here I find out why people are becoming less focused.
Let me explain to you with the example of teaching Alphas.
Alpha (0-9) and Gen Z (10-24) came into a world where algorithms keep them constantly clicking, scrolling, and swiping. Today’s kids are dealing with a challenge that is not the one listed on the board. They are so used to continual stimulation from smartphone applications and streaming services that they cannot focus in class.
In recent years, academics worldwide have expressed worry about the influence of cell phones and media multitasking on focus. Technology, social media, instant internet access, and smartphones interfere with our capacity to focus. We are radically altering the way we think and the development of our brains.
To begin with, the average teenager has a span of attention of roughly 28-30 seconds. While cell phones have impacted pupils’ growing brains, instruction on dealing with the problem is missing. Reading complex or long content without regular pauses appears particularly demanding for Generation Z.
In the past, pupils appeared to be accustomed to devoting more time to a text. You can sense their absence of stamina in the way they take pauses, chat to each other instead of working, and even give up on lengthier reading projects. Means Let me tell you, you can compare your 8th standard social studies book and compare it with today’s 8th std SS textbook. Nowadays, even curricula have to make chapters shorter so students won’t be freaked out and learn quickly. If we start from the beginning, our ancestors used to wander the whole day to find necessities like food and a place to live. And still, they were living.
Today if you put in 10 yr. Old in a room without electrical devices, they will be mad by afternoon. Of course, curiosity plays a vital role in this. But Ancestors also got bored in their time and invented new and better instruments to live. Then they carried out languages and writing. That’s where Our concentration begins to develop like no other living one.
But after time went by, we had carried out a shorter version of everything to do all things in one life. And that is not wrong in any place.
We are making everything smaller and shorter to know everything, from books to articles, movies to reels, walking to vehicles, and talking to text.
And by keeping the story brief, we make ourselves irritable and quick. There is a widespread belief that young people are lazy, apathetic, and side-tracked. We undervalue the utilization of technology right now and the control it affords over how we learn.
For example, students eager for professors to respond to their queries are increasingly inclined to seek solutions for themselves. They may be in algebra and go to YouTube to answer a problem before approaching a teacher or reading a textbook. We are habituating to Alexa; she has become our mother for our non-home issues.
Humans don’t want to slow down their life. Today’s life is a hybrid mixture of complex and simple life. We have to do one work/job, and other things can be bought by salary/income, which was technically not provided for our ancestors. But on the other side, we have a cognitive society where we have to maintain speed with community, technology, and aliens on the other side!
Just kidding, but we have to understand, we have to slow down a bit and know what we want to do and what not to!
Now we have Google, and now we have to learn what to search for and what not to. Information becomes universal; success is no longer about knowing the most. Instead, it’s the ability to think critically and creatively, ironically the very skills that digital media undermines by lowering attention spans. Suppose you think of the founders of Microsoft and Facebook, which became pioneers in the tech world. It wasn’t because they could code better; they could think differently.
Is the technology that bad?
Technology probably helped us somewhere with long content like kindle- E-books, Web series, and Anime like services that can indulge any average human for hours and days. If we can use technology with awareness of what we are doing, technology can help like an angel.
As my grandpa said, why are you reading books on these shitty mobiles? Read hard copies, feel those pages, smell them and then understand the essence of the story. But we also want everything free and flexible. And that is the choice of one. People read a lot on online websites and apps like kindle. And some people also hate it and read like Nnedi Okarafor.
― Nnedi Okorafor
I understand my writing specialty as a writer. Writing content and presenting it to everyone is a regularly engaged process. Being a content writer teaches me that readers may prefer reading short, concise content.
They do not like reading lengthy content. Even on Medium, pieces that are just the right length are often well-received. Is it true that consumers don’t seek in-depth content?
The fundamental reason can be that People Want to Save Time by doing everything present on every app and site. Whatever approach you take as a writer, never let go of the creativity that makes your work unique.
Could this be the end of the long-form article?
On the contrary, written content has risen in length and quality. A 1,000-word piece could have been termed “long-form” a few years ago. Now, extensively shared blog entries routinely exceed 3,000 or even 10,000 words.
But does it work? Will people bother to read thousands of words?
The quick answer is yes, based on the contexts.
And about a long answer, When it refers to text, massive content often outperforms short information, as long as it’s broken down into bite-sized and interspersed with visuals. It is because search engines prefer lengthier content. It’s simple: Google believes that people who know more will tell more.
Many readers feel similarly. Contrary to popular belief, the longer the article is more willing individuals are to share it with friends and colleagues. Those who spend more time consuming extended content are more inclined to spend in your firm. That doesn’t imply that lengthier has always been preferable, but it suggests you shouldn’t be afraid to delve into detail occasionally.
Forget long vs. short. What do people read?
So, in conclusion,
The holy grail for content that performs highly and receives social shares appears to be 7 minutes, translating to roughly 2000 words. But measuring content by search results, Facebook engagements, and retweets is one thing. It’s another thing entirely to suggest what length is appropriate for readers.
And in general, also, short content is being popularized in new cultures. But it also gets creative with trends like minimalism. It rather than the choice of one, they wanted to read a comic book or cartoon, kindle or hard copy, long articles or inshorts, play a test match or a T20, run marathon or sprints, listen to old 8-minute songs or 2 min raps, listen to an extended podcast or listen to headlines in radio, wanted to see web series or just reviews.
If you come to the end of this article, thank you for reading this, I would love to know your views on this question.
If you like my way of thinking, please share it.