When you’re in a meeting with today’s Digital Mavens, you know exactly what they are going to say before they say it.
For example, we were discussing a video on this particular brand’s website and having people who found it interesting share it with others.
What did the Digital Maven say?
“Well, it’s going to have to be short if people are going to share it.”
“Short?” I said.
“Yeah. Not longer than thirty seconds. Fifteen seconds is even better.”
“Why’s that?” I asked.
“Because peoples’ attention spans are shorter.”
“Is that so,” I replied “Can you explain to me then, why week in and week out, the top ten commercials shared online are over 60 seconds in length. In fact, many are 90 seconds or longer?”
She looked at me like I didn’t compute. Which I didn’t. After all, it went against everything she was told by other digital mavens and mavenettes.
So I asked her, is it better that the content be good? Or, that it be short? She hesitated.
“Let me put it another way,” I said. “You see something online that you think is funny or interesting or moving and you want to share it with a friend. Do you stop and say, wait a minute, that was longer than thirty seconds. Can’t share that.”
If it’s good, you don’t realize how long or short it is. Only if it’s bad, do you then realize how long it is.
When you are sent a video from a friend to watch, do you first look to see how long it is before you start watching?
Oh, shoot, this is 60 seconds, not going to watch that.
Or do you start watching and let the content itself dictate how long is too long for you at that particular moment?
Today’s Digital Mavens know all the data.
But they forget something very important.
We don’t watch data.
We watch stories.
And when it comes to stories, length is a measurement of interest.
Not a measurement of time.