How the Art of Watching Replaced the Art of Reading

Keep your audience’s attention longer than the length of this sentence.

I was staring at my phone in complete disbelief the other day.

I had just gotten done talking with a — fantastic — vendor that we work with, and one of my coworkers noticed my jaw lying on the floor and asked what was up. I asked him…

“Does Anyone Even Read Anymore?!”

See, I just spent 15 minutes of discussion going over points that I made a week ago in an email. My conclusion being, they didn’t read a single word of what I had sent over previously.

It. Is. Soooo frustrating.

Okay, this is much more of a personal post. Yes, this is still a part of us, of Squint Direct. But I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the art of reading — and how it’s being replaced with the art of watching.

I mean, YES we are still reading — you wouldn’t be hearing what you think is

my voice in your head if you weren’t — but that number is declining.

From a piece in the New Yorker, between 2003 and 2016, the amount of time that the average American devoted to reading for personal interest on a daily basis dropped from 0.36 hours to 0.29 hours. Yikes.

The Scanning Generation and the Art of Reading

But maybe there’s a bigger reason for that. We curate a LOT now. We’re more selective. When was the last time you completely surrendered yourself over to a book/article with NO knowledge of what to expect?

I’m guessing most of us try looking at reviews first before we ingest media.

I say ‘looking at’ purposefully. We’re actually just scanning the pages, looking for keywords to know if something is good or if something is bad.

We don’t often read an entire article, we just scan it and move on. There’s too much out there!

In general, folks are losing touch with the art of reading. We’re scanning it; we’re asking for recommendations. We can’t be bothered to investigate; we want to curate. And for others to curate for us.

Reading is amazing, it’s rewarding, but it’s got one thing going against it… it feels long.

Folks want something edited and presented to them in a way they can most easily consume — because there’s just so much more content out there for them to consume.

The Art of Watching or Lessons TikTok Taught Me (and Vine, and Twitter, and…)

We’ve gotten selective when it comes to reading,

but more curious when it comes to video.

Now here’s the twist, I think audiences act way more curious when it comes to video watching.

For example, on TikTok, videos rarely last longer than :15, even with the option to shoot for up to :60. You just keep swiping to see more content come right into your stream. We’re hungry for it! And the turnaround from setup to punchline in these videos is straightforward enough it’s easy to consume. :15 later and you get a like.

It’s rewarding to investigate a trend or a hashtag on those video platforms and consume a large variety of that content. Because the content itself is so short and engaging and easy to watch, it’s easy to swipe and tap the screen — it’s physically FUN to do.

This is the Art of Watching: turning a short investment into

longer total watch time by adding engagement.

And what isn’t fun about watching video? Videos have music. Videos have moving images. Watching a video engages a person’s brain in multiple ways, and keeps that person listening and watching for longer and longer time periods.

And when that person is watching — if you do a fantastic job with your video — they will better retain your message.

The Big Invitation to Creating Video Content

But your brand will be hurting if you can’t get your audience into the art of watching your brand.

Video ads can be skipped over. People will click away from your long-form content. If your video isn’t engaging enough in the first few seconds, and if you can’t establish your hook fast enough… you’ve lost them. Maybe for good.

Don’t be scared! Take it as an invitation

An invitation to take the message that matters to you off the page and onto the screen. Transform your words into moments. Your message into feelings.

Alright, maybe you think that’s a little high-minded, but it’s totally true:

People will share a message or feeling they

get from a video faster than sharing an article.

When you read an article, who is the one delivering that message? Without sounding too creepy, it’s literally a voice you’re creating in your head. Maybe that voice is me, or maybe it’s your own.

But with video, it’s YOU and your brand can be what’s directly in front of them. And video puts you in control of how that message is received and how they get that awesome feeling.

So don’t stop writing — but definitely start shooting.

If this got your imagination going about how to share your brand’s message with video, then it’s time you learned about Squint Direct, and how our subscription options and “in-house” production system can give you exactly what you’re looking for at a great price.

Get your audience staring at their phones… for the right reasons!

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