How A Virus Changes The World (by takepart)

This video is almost a year old and I just wanted to see if it turned out indicative of evolving trends in the way narratives are spun and pacing is ever more hectic in explainy1 web videos.

I have to say that the scat man voiceover and breakneck transitions are surely beyond an attention threshold that would stand up to recalling the factoids that are thrown at the viewer long term—and it is evident from the YouTube comments that even the audience there feels overwhelmed by the speed of delivery. 2 fast for uToob, zomg11! Then again I doubt that this video was meant to work as an information motion graphic.2 It’s effect, apart from the slightly meandering visual design language, derives mainly from evoking a feeling of familiarity in the maelstrom through clever use of pop culture reference woven into the mundane.

That may be a neat way to get the attention of a pop culture savvy audience looking for a visual snack, but I wonder how long the effect lasts: both the recollection rate and perceptiveness of the audience is likely to suffer over time. The health information is not tied to any overarching concepts that have longevity nor are they tied to an emotional response that would help recall the information. Ask yourself tomorrow just how much you remember about the video without watching it again. Secondly, using very audience specific hooks will probably not let the video age gracefully, as many of the references are likely to be lost on different or future audiences.3

I’m undecided as to how the style itself (using the aforementioned techniques) will project into the future, but I did not see too many popular videos from the explainy genre picking up this drastic kind of fast-food information consumption just yet. That may just be me, though. The pacing sure works for YouTube audiences in game reviews or vlogs, so perhaps we’ll get to see that kind of tempo in Super Bowl commercials eventually.

  1. I may just use this word more often. Explainy. That surely is one lasting trend among web videos. About 400 Internet years old now, so I guess these kind of videos have become a cultural technique that is here to stay and spawn sub-genres in the future. ↩︎

  2. Motion information graphic? Animated information graphic? ↩︎

  3. Also, speaking of references, there is the egregious failure to mention the one true safe haven in case of a pandemic: Madagascar. ↩︎


  1. jochmann posted this
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