Forbes recently said something along the lines of, “In just a few years, it will take an individual more than 5 million years to watch the amount of video that will cross global IP networks each month.”
According to Cisco, something like a million minutes, or almost 17,000 hours of video content will cross the network every second by 2021.
Why is that the case? Well, because… the Internet. It’s no surprise that major increases in media consumption have been made possible through services like Netflix, YouTube, and Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. Snapchat in particular. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth 29,970 words a second (frame-rate multiplier applied), okay, maybe not, but it is a very rich medium for conveying things that words cannot capture in the same way, or convey quite as quickly.
Okay, so there’s a lot of video online, so what? Well, the reason there is so much is because it makes such a big difference in your effectiveness, here are just a couple of the stats:
Here are the rest of the statistics about video consumption on the internet that you can peruse at your leisure:https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2017/03/08/video-marketing-statistics
The primary point is that video content is a much richer, faster, easier (for the consumer) medium for taking in new information. It is the new rhetoric, the means of being seen as credible today. What you want to say does not really matter; if you can not say it in a compelling way that your audience is willing to engage with, you might as well not have said anything at all.
This breaks my heart a bit, as I was in a classic literature program during my university days, and the Torrey Honor’s Institute gave me a strong respect and appreciation for dusty tomes of wisdom. I love literature. But with literature, in particular, there has been very little serious effort to translate Aristotle, Plato, Dostoyevsky, Spencer, Chesterton or Augustine into engaging popular level, 2-minutes-or-less videos. Which in turn, makes it very difficult for me to share compelling insights from those works with my peers.
Take Plato’s Cave analogy from The Republic, it would be ludicrous to ask them to read even a small excerpt say, 24-pages (~.05%) of the hundreds of pages of the original book. Ain’t nobody got time for that. It would not have the same impact anyways without the context, or make sense without the logical arguments leading up to it. So, it essentially does not exist for them since it is not in a readily communicable format they are willing to engage with.
It is important then, as the Church, that we take the medium of video seriously, lest the Bible ceases to exist as well. The Bible Project has done a really great job of this, YouVersion is making strides in scripture engagement as well, along with the Bible App for Kids. The way we teach the Bible, theology, strategy, missiology, and equip people to fulfill the great commission matters. Producing good engaging videos is a special skill set, it requires a lot of work. But we are fooling ourselves if we think we can grow or gain additional relevance if we continue with text as our primary medium.
Taking the good news to every tribe and every nation requires us to innovate our medium, especially when the people we want to share with stop listening (or reading, as the case may be) to the good news we want to share. It is our responsibility and privilege, to grow. Historically, we have done great with the printing press and text, but I think we have some room to grow online, and video is a great way to start.