Ben Casnocha reviews Tyler Cowen's new book:
[W]hen culture is free and a click away, as it is on blogs and Twitter and the broader Internet, we sample broadly and consume it in smaller chunks: "When access is easy, we tend to favor the short, the sweet, and the bitty. When access is difficult, we tend to look for large-scale productions, extravaganzas, and masterpieces," writes Cowen. "The current trend--as it has been running for decades--is that a lot of our culture is coming in shorter and smaller bits." Think 30-second YouTube clips instead of a full movie, iTunes singles instead of complete albums, two paragraph blog posts instead of an entire essay. And now the 140-character limit on Twitter instead of a blog-style free-form text box.
And yet we also discover this. The web has indeed given life back to shorts; but it is far too soon to see it as the death-knell for longer video. It depends on the context. At a desk at work, you want three minutes max. At home, you can watch a downloaded hour-long documentary later that evening.