Wednesday, August 02, 2006

YouTube top 5 and duration of videos

How long should a video blog post be? It depends on many factors, including topic, your expertise, what need you are fulfilling (brief intro remarks vs. in-depth seminar), and your own style.

Notice I did not say "audience attention span". Everyone has a short, or long, attention span, the duration depends on the need and content. If you're like me, you probably get bored quickly with television sitcoms, but we may listen to our favorite CDs for hours and even sing along with songs.

You focus on the rattlesnake or wasp that suddenly appeared in your bedroom, but you space out when your husband drones on about another routine day at his dull job.

I kept falling asleep reading John Ciardi's translation of Dante's Inferno, but Herzog by Saul Bellow is a book I picked up a few days ago and can't put down. Put a supposedly ADHD kid in front of a new Harry Potty movie or a violent video game, and watch one hell of a fixed attention span appear out of nowhere.

If you need to learn how to post photos from your digital camera to a blog site, you will pay attention to an instructional video for quite a while. Or if you enjoy naughty material, you'll stare at it in rapt whatever, for hours, right? I guess.

But what if a video features some unknown person lip-synching a song you never heard of? I suppose you'll devote about 0.1 seconds to paying any attention to that. Who can blame you?

What if I did a video called "All the Wit, Wisdom, and Woes of [Your Name Here]"?

I bet you would watch the entire thing, even if it lasted an hour or two, especially if it was flattering -- or seething with inaccuracy and envy.

So how long should your video be? Most people probably ignore any video that is over 3 minutes long, or under 1 minute. I know I do. But you'd be amazed at what can be accomplished in 0:15, or how fast 6 minutes can fly by when the vlogger is funny, informative, and talks fast to pack a lot in.

Let's look at the time duration of YouTube's top 5, in various categories.

Most Discussed:
9:59 (Disproportionate Inappropriateness), 0:47, 8:48, 8:59, 2:18

Most Viewed:
4:14 (Colbert Analyzes Wikipedia), 3:04, 1:42, 3:58, 1:15

Top Rated:
3:17 (Gracia - I believe in Miracles), 2:41, 4:42, 3:22, 18:22

Top Favorites:
3:04 (OK Go - Here It Goes Again), 4:14, 9:59, 2:36, 0:23

Most Linked:
7:18 [title unknown, in Chinese text], 3:35, 6:00, 4:32, 1:37


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