Tim O’Reillyy has a brief piece about how “the web has put a premium on short-form content.” He’s right, of course. The new medium is tuning our minds to take in information by the teaspoonful – from YouTube clips to what Google calls “snippets” of text. And producers, whether professional or amateur, are responding by serving up more “small chunks,” to use O’Reilly’s term.
O’Reilly notes that “small chunks” are also attractive today because they’re “modular.” They’re suited to what’s come to be called “social production,” in which a lot of people contribute a lot of chunks to create a big pile ofchunks.
I’m not convinced this is something to regret.Â It’s perfectly suitable, I think, to use the web for short form and print for long.Â I think it will be a long time before the public loses its taste for novels and feature films. For journalists, big investigative pieces might always work better in broadsheet, but that doesn’t mean the story couldn’t have been served in small doses over several days (serialized) on the web before print publication, or reported on an “as we know it it” basis during the investigation.