All Our Brains Are Rotting

woman with goldfish and clocks in the background
Vangert/Shutterstock Fotografia/Shutterstock Chawalit Banpot/Shutterstock @candacce/Tiktok

TikTok might be looking to make videos longer, but if this TikToker is right, our attention span is already getting shorter.

In a new video, content creator Candace pointed out that people seem a lot less patient with clips that are closer to 2 minutes long, as audiences beg her to “get to the point” and stop rambling in clips that, by all accounts, are actually rather short.

“You know how there’s a lot of teachers saying that their students are taking significantly longer to grasp information or their students will be in 7th grade and read at, like, a 2nd-grade reading level. Have we seen those videos?” she asks in the clip.

“I think this correlates with, I’ll make a 2-minute, 3-minute video, I get so many comments that are just like, ‘Get to the point, oh my God, I just wasted my time.’” This, Candace added, didn’t make any sense, as she pointed to how YouTube had 10-minute videos, 15-minute videos, and 20-minute videos that “did just fine.”

“For YouTube monetization, it had to be like 10 minutes, so then you’d see a lot of YouTubers uploading ten-minute and one-second videos,” she noted. Yet, despite this, Candace said she once got heat for uploading a video that was a whole … 1 minute and 50 seconds long.

“I’m just making videos. You think I’m the weird one? Because I made a minute-long video that you can’t sit through? I’ll be like, dude … this is obviously brain rot.”

But isn’t just brain rot that’s ruining the internet — for Candace, it’s also our sense of “entitlement.”

“The entitlement to where they feel like there should never be over a minute long videos, it’s either COVID, or it’s either virtual learning, or it’s just extended internet use,” she theorized.

If you need any more proof, look no further than Candace’s comment section, as people struggled even to finish the clip. One commenter said it was “100% brain rot,” admitting that “it was hard to even sit through this,” while another confessed they watched the video at 2x speed to curb the potential brain rot. 

But many commenters also rightly raised how we love long-form videos too, with video essays experiencing something of a renaissance. One commenter who described themselves as the “brain rot generation” said they enjoy three-hour videos, while another said they “force themselves” to watch three to five-hour videos in hopes of “reversing” potential brain rot. 

By all accounts, the brain rot generation may not be a lost cause after all, as it was only in October that TikTok held a summit with creators to encourage them to make longer-form videos. According to The Information, the platform also found that users are spending half their time on the app watching content that is over a minute long. But is it too little too late?

As for the worst part, I also have a confession to make … I, too, struggled to get through that video. In fairness, I can attribute that partly to my ADHD, but there’s a bit of brain rot thrown in there, too.

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