Combing through my news feed this morning, I stumbled across this short video by NPH:
— Neil Patrick Harris (@ActuallyNPH) January 27, 2015
No big deal, right? Just Barney with a cameraphone giving everyone a quick scoop of his upcoming Academy Award hosting gig. Except it is a big deal. Because it’s the first official video shared on Twitter.
Let that sink in for a moment.
Instead of 140 tight characters, you can now squeeze more words and images into 30 second video clips. The normal soundbite is a measly 7 seconds max. Ever talk out your 140 character tweets? Less than 7 seconds even in if you talk at the speed of Stephen Wright. 30 seconds is an eternity in today’s media culture.
This is big.
Sure, we’re going to be inundated with feeds full of half-minute cat videos. Yes, the spammers are going to abuse it. And the porn. Don’t forget the porn.
But this will also give citizen journalists — people like you and me — the ability to share eyewitness accounts of global news events faster than ever. This is something Twitter has already proven itself indispensable, even in 140 character word form. What was once a river of words becomes a current of moving images. With apologies to Al Gore, Twitter has just become the real current TV.
It’s a sign that Generation YouTube has won. A generation that doesn’t tune into the morning, 5 o’clock or 10 o’clock news (11 o’clock news has long since hit the graveyard thanks to The Daily Show). It’s a generation that wants news when it happens, unfiltered by advertisers and editors.
If you’re in the news business, your world just went from soundbites to video clips. If you’re in the business of making news, it just got a lot more interesting.