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Don’t Eat the Soundbite!

  • Don’t Eat the Soundbite!

The following blog post was written by Tahira Ebrahim, Centre Liaison Officer at the Centre for Excellence in Immigrant and Intercultural Advancement. 

Have you heard of the six-second commercial?  Six-second commercials grew out of results from studies conducted by Facebook, which found that YouTube viewers were likely to watch an online commercial for an average of 5.7 seconds (Forbes 2017). 

Consequently, television networks decided to experiment with hosting their own six-second segments for special televised events, to improve viewership numbers of TV commercials. It found that viewership went up as commercial length came down. As our attention spans decrease, and our desire for shorter and shorter snippets of information increases, our tendency to conceptualize an entire story or event within a soundbite becomes more likely.

The consequence is that soundbites need to become far more sensational to capture our attention. As soundbites come to use mainly through online or social media, much of their exposure is due to how much users share or like these posts. The soundbites then become curated by what readers are more likely to read. If trends from online traffic indicate that more negative events are more likely to be shared, they will dictate the frequency and volume of posts. 

It can become overwhelming with how much goes on in our global community, particularly when the news feels bleak.

So how do we fight this phenomenon? How do we foster a renewed desire to seek out in-depth newsworthy material? It can become overwhelming with how much goes on in our global community, particularly when the news feels bleak. Consider finding articles that have a specific topic of interest for yourself. For example, try to find articles about different scientific advancements in different parts of the world or new artists showcased at international art galleries. There is a lot of information to be found in any number of areas. You may be surprised at what you find!

Engaging with the world through a lens that encourages your curiosity will expose you to news sources that you have not yet discovered, as well as expose you to the dynamic and evolving world outside of your own sense of self and community.

So next time instead of eating the soundbite, which is a mere morsel of reality, consider gaining a full serving of what is happening throughout the world on a topic that piques your own interest and experience a newfound global perspective. 

Adgate, B.  (2017, August 31).  The YouTube Generation And 6-Second TV Ads. Forbes. Retrieved from: