The comeback of long-form storytelling

  • YouTube commercials designed for communicating in five seconds or less
  • Webpages that only retain users for 23 seconds

Why Story? From Lascaux to Massachusetts

Stories are and have always been an integral part of the human experience. The Lascaux cave paintings in France, estimated to be some 17,000 years old, are perhaps our earliest examples. Tales of epic hunts and mystic rituals are depicted on their walls. Imagine these early humans gathering together in dark caves with flickering lights to relive glories of the past and hold hope for good days ahead.

Attention spans are increasing with the right stories

As I wrote earlier, I see an alternate truth that goes along with the diminished attention span theory. While, yes, technology makes it easy for our minds to be entertained without depth, it is also and simultaneously true that our attention spans are increasing when we are presented with the right stories.

Observers become participants through long-form story

Not only can long-form content edify and entertain. Many of these conversation-based pieces also provide a space for the observer to become a participant. People long for interaction — perhaps now more than ever — and these in-the-round style podcasts and YouTube channels (to name just a couple of mediums) allow the audience to feel a deeper sense of connection with the creators.