In a world where snappy short-form video is seemingly the way to go when it comes to keeping eyeballs on social media, it turns out people also quite enjoy watching…. not very much at all.
Video streaming tools like Facebook Live, Periscope and YouTube are full of fast paced action. But recently there has also been an increasing trend towards “slower” content. It’s boring and gripping at the same time.
On Wednesday millions tuned into Facebook Live streams of astronauts apparently working live on the International Space Station. Although the videos were not as live as they seemed, people didn’t seem too bothered.
But it’s by no means a new idea, considering the relatively long popularity of “slow TV” in Norway.
The 2009 documentary program Bergensbanen minutt for minutt a 7 hour train journey across the southern part of the country, attracted a mammoth 1.2 million viewers when it aired. Seriously.
It has spawned a number of sequels, where viewers were taken on a 134 hour boat trip in Hurtigruten minutt for minutt and thrilled by the 12 hour long National Knitting Night. Even the British got involved, with BBC Four Goes Slow.
While you’re not going to get that same sort of length on livestreaming video such as Facebook Live, YouTube or Periscope, the principles are the same: Little happening over a long time seems to get plenty of interest.
Take Drummond Puddle Watch on Periscope earlier this year, where thousands of viewers became engrossed in the saga of people trying to jump over a large puddle in Newcastle upon Tyne in the UK.
Or even The LAD Bible and their three-hour long Facebook Live of a DVD player logo bouncing around the screen, kept viewers on edge until it hit the corner.
And of course, Mashable’s Facebook Live in a Scarehouse during Halloween because watching people get frightened over and over seems like a very good idea.
Perhaps the adage rings true when it comes to live online video: Less is sometimes more.