So when we were shown a couple of examples in class of what a digital essay meant, I immediately thought of the “Did You Know?” videos that were fairly popular over the past couple years. Although, I don’t believe there have been any in the last year. The first time I saw one was through a friend recommendation; however, I have also looked at these videos in marketing classes to examine what makes them appealing to people and to decide whether or not they were successful in sending a message. The two videos I had actually seen before are Did You Know? and Did you Know 4.0. There are bunch of them, all addressing different topics. The two linked ones are about people and connection.
Now, these videos are mostly facts that are listed. The facts don’t flow very well if you wanted to just read them like an essay; the only way they flow are by topic. In fact, if you were to read them, they get old pretty fast considering how many of them there are. I tried watching the video not paying attention to the animation and had the video on mute just to read the text–it’s kind of cool but not really a list I’d read for very long. Why I think this writing is better projected through this video rather than on paper is because the animation goes with the facts being told to you. For example, at the beginning of the “Did You Know?” video, there is a screen with about 11-12 rows of little human shapes. In the middle there is only one highlighted in red to start a ratio fact about people (“If you’re one in a million in China…”). Next, it highlights all of the people to emphasize the magnitude of the rest of the fact (“there are 1,300 people just like you). (To clarify what the fact is saying, the next part of the video says “China will soon become the number one English speaking country in the world”.) In addition, the text is better consumed through this digital production because of the music. The rhythm of the music is fast and slow enough to make you think and, at times, even pause for a moment to digest the information when the creators of the video want you to. Somehow, it makes the slew of facts and the 5 minutes of video easy to take in and continue watching.
Another side note I thought of as to why it was better for this “essay” to presented digitally is because of its specific content. It is also more suitable for this information to be spread through video and websites like youtube.com to better prove its point. To talk about the changes in communication culture via a video (that today has more than 15 million views) not only makes it easy for them to get an audience, but also shows viewers the truth to what they’re saying.