People have always been compelled to seek and share information. Throughout the thousands of years of our existence as the human race, content sharing has evolved from spoken to written to printed to posted. Now, with the amount of information and entertainment available online increasing every minute, our attention spans as consumers are conversely decreasing. Does this mean we are less hungry for content?
A Bite-Sized Online Culture
If I have learned anything from living in Spain, it’s the allure of the tapas culture. Instead of deciding on one large meal for the evening, you can snack on a spread of bite-sized nibbles that add up to a satisfying and filling experience. Though every bar fulfills its traditional Andalusian duty by pairing a bite with your beverage, there are only a handful of spots that are consistently packed with customers. It’s because they don’t just hand you a bowl of olives or plate of potato chips; they offer a complete experience by sequencing delicious tapas at just the right moment.
Our consumption of content online matches the pleasure of this tapas-style dining. We aren’t less hungry for information, but we now demand content we can absorb quickly while expecting the same level of quality.
Where can we see this trend?
We can see this most apparently in the graphic memes that make big statements by combining just a few words with a funny, iconic or impressive image. The content evokes a specific response, often laughter, that takes just a moment to process and a click to share.
This tendency is now even being applied to the way our eyes decode written text through the creation of speed-reading technologies like the Boston-based startup Spritz that could fundamentally change the way we read and absorb written text.
And just last year we saw popular quick-read content engine Buzzfeed more than double its unique monthly visitors from 2012, jumping from 25 to 40 million. Many of these posts are brand sponsored but the consumption continues to increase because the text-light posts entertain first and push product second.
So how can you do it right?
Everyone is serving up visual and textual “tapas” these days, but it is critical as a content producer that you are not just checking the box to keep up with the latest trend. Put as much thought, creativity and care into your tapa as you would into an entree. The style is different but the need to educate and entertain is the same as it’s always been.
Use simple ingredients to create something inventive, tasty and satisfying. By leveraging powerful images, concise information or data and quick bites of copy, you can tell a story in a small serving.
Make sure the plating does justice to the piece. Take advantage of the number of existing platforms available, such as Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Facebook, Pinterest, et. al., and create customized content catered to the context required by each. Or, follow Disney’s lead and even create your own presentation destination.
Keep it coming. By regularly serving up small portions of meaty content, you will keep your consumers lingering for the next round.
Share your favorite creations with in the comments below!