Are We Trading Human Connection For More YouTube Views?

Online video and video marketing is on the rise while real human connections and attention spans are dwindling. Is any of it doing the world any favors?

According to research published by The Telegraph, I can expect to have a better conversation with a goldfish than my feisty 13-year-old daughter. Smartphones — and the online content that consumes them — are ruining the human attention span.

Online communication can be debilitating and easily overshadow real human interactions. Also, online contact falls short on empathy because many of us can’t communicate our feelings properly in a Facebook message, text or a tweet.

 

Do I have your attention?

In today’s digital world, “[w]e may not like the fact that we are wired such that our well-being depends on our connections with others, but the facts are the facts,” according to Scientific American.

All of this made me wonder: If attention spans are dwindling, are human connections circling the drain too?

Furthermore, as entrepreneurs, does the proliferation of online communication (i.e. video, etc.) hinder our ability to connect and empathize with each other?

 

Is online video helping the situation?

Online video and video marketing is on the rise. Entrepreneurs are delivering trainings, behind-the-scenes videos, and brand stories to build awareness and connect with loyal fans.

But is it doing the world any favors?

I think so. But only when used the right way.

For example, Jay Shetty, former monk turned lifestyle blogger, shares some of the most inspirational and engaging content I’ve seen. I have been reduced to tears and by some of his videos.
 

 
I’m also a fan of UNILAD. When their videos pop up on my Facebook newsfeed I am entertained. When I share these videos or have a conversation about them, doesn’t that count as human interaction?

 

Video marketing could be so much more

Entrepreneurs have embraced online video. As a creative director, I love the fact that more and more people are hopping onto the bandwagon. However, I’m disappointed when I see video being used the same way over and over again. You know … the usual suspects:

 

  • the three-part video sales launch

  • Facebook live trainings

  • personal brands sharing the glitzy lifestyle, but little else

 

Sure. These types of videos have a place in business. However, I often wish entrepreneurs would push the envelope more. What if entrepreneurs would take some extra time to get creative with video?

What if (gasp) online videos were actually about the brand message rather than the person behind the brand?

What if the objective behind videos was not only to connect with an audience, but to help the audience connect to each other – creating a community?

 

The thing about using online video as a marketing strategy is that it should:

 

  • never be solely about promoting your brand or your services

  • abide by the golden rules of content marketing (i.e. to entertain, inform, or inspire the viewer)

  • always build and solidify your connection with the viewer

 

This new paradigm enhances our abilities to communicate and use online video as a catalyst for meaningful connections.

 

The future of online video is this, not that

I don’t see online video as a replacement for face-to-face human connection. It is a creative way to enhance it. In fact, it can be used to build communities that span the globe.

Actually, my daughter, who is a few stitches away from being surgically attached to her smartphone, will often wander into the family room to show her dad and I a new video she has either created, or watched on YouTube.

So you see, video isn’t isn’t the root of all evil; stealing our relationships one upload at a time. Today, we simply have more ways to communicate and share what we want, with who we want, for any purpose we desire.

As an aspiring or current industry leader, you have the ability to communicate with your audience in ways that were once impossible. Isn’t that a fantastic thought?

 

This article has been edited.

Memma Lomas is a Creative Director for global personal brands. Her mission is to bring “big brand” viral campaign ideas to the online entrepreneurial space. Memma works with the influencers and leaders who are destined to change the world, life by life. Connect with @MemmaLomas on Twitter.

In this article