Content on Social Media is Speeding up – But is it a Good Thing?
Video and audio content on social media have been stepping up the pace. Platforms like Youtube and TikTok have seen a rise in sped-up content in recent years, including accelerated video speed and faster speech. The younger demographic in particular seems to have a need for speed, perceived to increase the sense of fun and excitement. Here’s a look at why everyone’s talking so quickly, and how sped-up media has evolved:
The 1.75x Speed Phenomenon
For years, Youtube has been the go-to platform for watching all sorts of informative content, including tutorials, lessons, reviews, and gameplays. Videos tend to go into detail and can be time-consuming. Enabling the 1.75x speed option allows viewers to watch a 10-minute video in only 6 minutes, making it easier to consume all that information. Many users find fast-paced videos more entertaining and easier to stay focused on, and have developed a preference for watching videos at a faster speed.
Though the 1.75x speed option has been available for almost a decade, it has only lately gained traction. As the younger generation tends to be more tech-savvy, they are more likely to be aware of and make use of the function. The feature has recently expanded to other video platforms, becoming more popular with younger users of Netflix who want to reduce the time it takes to binge watch streaming content.
Today TikTok has taken over the reign as the world’s most popular video platform. Sped-up content has been around since the app was launched, when people were still figuring out how to use the different audio and video effects to create interesting and unique videos. The ability to “time warp” or “speed up” audio recordings has been one of its most popular features. Gen-Z users have been especially excited about it as it allows them to express themselves in their own particular way and create lively, fast-paced, and easy to understand content.
Fast speech on TikTok has grown along with the app’s popularity. The rise of TikTok challenges and trends, many of which included rapid-fire lip syncs to hit songs, have contributed to the growth of this phenomenon. Fast speech is used by many users to showcase their creativity and has become an integral element of the identity and culture of many online communities. Users often retell stories from their everyday lives at an incredibly fast pace, frequently digressing to keep viewers entertained.
Music has been put on the fast track too: The hashtag #spedupsounds has almost 10 billion views on TikTok, and sped-up and high-pitched remixes of popular songs have become so popular that some artists have even put out official sped-up versions of their own songs on streaming platforms.
Is Accelerated Content Frying Young Brains?
The growing popularity of sped-up content has inspired many concerns and opinions about its effects on young people’s brain development. Many believe that Gen Z’s attention span is negatively impacted by the velocity of their information consumption. Because there’s always something short and interesting to look at, it may be hard for users to focus on longer form content or deep thoughts.
However, there is another point of view that claims people will be able to remember and use what they learn better if the message is transmitted quickly. Absorbing information at a faster speed fits the busy pace of modern life, allowing it to be consumed in a single sitting. It may also be better at holding the attention of younger people who have grown up in a world with more activity and stimulation.
Fast Has Been Funny Since Forever
One could argue that quick wits have been a hallmark of humour going back centuries. At the court of Versailles, social status was accorded to those who meted out the wittiest insults without missing a beat (see Ridicule, which is probably too long for Gen-Z’s taste). Since the big and small screens were invented, fast speech has been used in comedies, sitcoms and movies to add energy and excitement to stories, to make them funnier or to get important messages across. And people have long loved screwball comedies for their quick banter and impeccable timing.
American comedy-drama Gilmore Girls stood out for its quick-fire dialogue when it first aired in 2000, picking up the pace from their contemporaries. Packed with witty humour and pop culture references, the show’s breakneck exchanges echoed screwball banter. People came to embrace the main characters’ snappy quips as its most recognisable feature, and the quick tempo helped the actors tear through scripts at twice the speed.
Conclusion: The Kids Are OK
It’s safe to say that fast talk was used to capture attention and tickle people’s funny bones way before social media. Film and television makers have always been inspired by the speed-talking phenomenon, and this has had a long-lasting impact on entertainment. This legacy of quick-witted humour has probably also influenced the way people talk on social media platforms today. Add to that the fast-paced nature of social media platforms, where users are constantly being flooded with short, interesting tidbits of information, and speeding up content seems only natural.