I'm terribly excited, and I bet you know what about. Yes, that's right. Flickr is now adding video content! Yay!! The site where the self-obsessed post pictures of themselves but also where serious photographers actually post good photographs will now be open to the gits who post their inane antics on Youtube. Yay!! The videos, however, will be limited to 90 seconds, which should be within the attention range of just about everyone. According to some blog I read but can't recall, this is microcontent at its best! I didn't realize microcontent had a best, but I'm willing to believe it.
Let's consider some of the "microcontent" out there right now. For many years we have had the soundbite, which many people think have contributed to the decline of political discourse and the general dumbing down of political information for most people. And we have texting, from which has evolved a semi-literate dialect and discourse slightly less nuanced than pidgin English. Now we have Twittering, where the hopelessly extroverted can broadcast their doings to the voyeurs amongst us. We've got commercials and flashy short content just about everywhere we turn. There's just so much great stuff, we're sometimes told, that it's hard to concentrate on any one thing. Whereas it's possible that really there's an overabundance of complete crap and we've just given up trying to find anything worth concentrating on. It's easier just to let the crap flow over you in 90 second bites.
Some librarians get really excited by all this "microcontent." They like the cute little Youtube videos. They like short little blog posts with their pictures on them. They think books are just too long and old fashioned. They revel in what they mistakenly believe is a "multitasking" society, which is really a society of people monotasking badly in tandem. Is more "microcontent" and more cultural clutter something libraries should be encouraging? Shouldn't libraries fight against the attention-shortening, dumbing down of America, the devolution to Idiocracy?
It seems almost a certainty that if we devolve into a nation of people who can't create or consume content over 90 seconds or 140 characters, then libraries along with every other portion of civilized life will disappear. I understand why people enjoy such "microcontent"; it's because giving in to the rush and flux of flashiness is easier than concentrating or thinking. What I don't understand is why people who seem to be of above average intelligence embrace these trends. But then again, I don't understand a lot of things.