Are short videos really entertaining to death?

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Human beings’ evaluation of the use of media forms, after thousands of years of history, I always feel a strange sense of joy when I look back.

The ancient Greek sage Socrates was very contemptuous of words. In his view, words exist out of context. The verbal communication between me and you is not only the content of the communication, but also the environment and scene of the communication. Once the content of oral communication is written down, it is a kind of “out of context”.

Socrates, who belonged to the ear-mouth school, never lost a word in his life.

Apparently, his disciple, Plato of the eye school, didn’t think so. Our understanding of Socrates’ speeches all come from Plato’s written records of his teacher’s speeches.

People began to admire writing, and people started to be smart and literate. Of course, books that record writing are worth a hundred times.

Mass media, such as newspapers, were initially criticized by “visionary and intelligent” people. The French Enlightenment thinker Diderot scolded newspapers like this:

All newspapers are food for the mind of the ignorant, a countermeasure for those who want to speak and judge without reading them, a bane and an abomination to the working man. These papers never published a single utterance uttered by an eminent man.

But with the rise of television, newspapers were suddenly ennobled by the relegation of TV watchers to “couch potatoes.” The dignity of a newspaper reader even goes all the way to the Internet age.

Someone even wrote a book like Shallow: How the Internet Has Poisoned Our Brains.

I think, if media forms have life, they will silently wait for the next media form to appear amid various criticisms. As long as they survive until then, nobility, wisdom, and style will all come uninvited.

Well, it all depends on the peers.


Frankly speaking, I think the criticism of short videos, which seems to be inscrutable, is actually nothing more than that.

In addition to the constant rhyme-like imitation and repetition of thousands of years of human history of media criticism, like Luddism in thinking one after another, there are also completely incongruous prejudices.

There is a criticism of short video platforms like Douyin and Kuaishou called: entertainment to death.

This is obviously a reference to the famous book “Amused to Death” by Postman, a scholar of media environment.

But the inconsistency of this criticism is that Postman has never criticized entertainment. His criticism is: entertaining serious things. For example, during the election, everyone focuses on the candidate’s lace news.

For the short video platform, entertainment is of course one of the important functions. If such a product is to be criticized as entertaining to death, it will be a bit overkill. So will Bosman, who invented the “thermostat effect”, raise the coffin for himself? The point of view is re-defended.

Quite a few of today’s critics of entertainment to death almost understand the phrase as “entertainment = death”, and I don’t know if they really never entertain.


In fact, different media forms have their own different characteristics. These characteristics are not so simple as which one is higher and which is lower, but depends entirely on where you use it. If used correctly, features will become advantages; if used wrongly, features will naturally become disadvantages.

Oral communication does have the advantage of being embedded in the situation, coupled with emoticons and body language, so that many people agree that this matter is too complicated, and it is best for us to talk face to face.

Writing is a kind of “spiritualism” that breaks through time and space. Through words, we can know what Socrates said thousands of years ago, and we can also know what Bosman said thousands of miles away. In that sense, we do have a sense of touching their souls.

The text on books is suitable for carrying content that does not emphasize timeliness so much, while newspapers and magazines carry things that require high timeliness—for example, news.

Using newspapers and books to distinguish between superior and inferior, Diderot’s absurdity is also absurd enough.

As for video, its symbol system is larger and more present than text. Although we all agree, because the video is a kind of waterfall flow of information-that is, this sentence is over, it is a bit difficult for you to go back and review-it is difficult to carry too heavy and complex content, depth It’s lacking, but it’s still an effective medium for some messages.


Now let’s take a look at the form of short videos represented by Douyin.

Douyin has indeed grown up with entertainment as its main purpose, but this does not mean that short videos, a medium form, cannot carry other content except entertainment content.

Of course, if you want to use Douyin to learn all of Kant’s three major criticisms, it’s because the user’s brain is flooded, not because Douyin can’t do it.

Short videos can still be used to spread something that is not so complicated but also belongs to the category of knowledge. A good example is “One Hundred Thousand Whys”.

Douyin and Juvenile and Children Publishing House are planning to make this series of popular science classics a video. The first season has been launched a few days ago, covering mathematics, physics, animals, plants, etc. in 18 volumes that children are interested in.

For example, this question: a piece of paper can be folded up to several times.

The answer to this question is not impossible to write in words, but it obviously lacks a sense of sight, and it is actually more difficult to understand than video display. And the answer to this question can’t be said to be too profound or brain-intensive. It generally belongs to the category of popular science, and it doesn’t need to be too long. The video can be finished in a few minutes.

If you have a memory of the 100,000 whys you read as a child, I believe you will agree that these 100,000 questions are basically of this nature.

Of course, we can use the way of reading books to understand “One Hundred Thousand Whys”, after all, we all came here when we were young. But if there was a medium form of short video at that time, wouldn’t it be more fragrant than reading?


I was in the college yesterday, and in the elevator, I ran into a teacher from the same college and her son who was probably in primary school.

Standing silently in the elevator is always not a problem. A colleague said to her son: “My name is Mr. Wei. By the way, how can I put down my phone and study hard?”

I smiled and thought to myself, the mobile phone is not a drug, so I don’t need to put it down completely.

This is a question of tool use, and frequency, not the tool itself.

Short video is not equal to a scourge that poisons the brain for entertainment to death, it can also provide a certain amount of knowledgeable science content. I really want to tell my colleagues, throw the baby aside and let him play with the mobile phone by himself. In the blink of an eye, two, three, four, five hours have passed, and it is all laughing and joking. It is not the fault of the mobile phone, nor the fault of the platform, but yours. wrong.

He needs your company, why isn’t it good for you to watch 100,000 movies with him?

Just like our parents would have done when we were kids.

—— The first episode of pulling nitrogen ——

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