TL;DR (Too long; didn’t read) generation, or the rise of the videoessay


To keep up with modern world, education is gradually becoming more digitalized, employing new technology in innovative and original ways. Even though are issues connected with those developments, there is an interesting way out of this predicament.

Education becoming more digital is great, but we should consider the trend among younger generations – the decline in the attention span during reading online – posing as an obstacle to the high quality of education. The so-called TL;DR phenomenon has been described in works of Heddendorf (2015) and Liu (2005), including such characteristics as “scanning, keyword spotting, one‐time reading, non‐linear reading, and reading more selectively.” (Liu, 2005) That is something you probably employ in your daily internet surfing (maybe you even skipped a part of this blog post to get to the main point).

Back to education – creative approaches such as using videoessays in classroom can become the new medium of transferring and presenting academic information in a world where textual information is slowly becoming outdated. As the best way to explain this term, let me present a videoessayists videoessay about videoessay (metavideoessay-ing!):

If you look up videoessay in Google, you will be presented with a variety of resources on the film essay. They can be considered as the provenance of this genre, and are mainly used by students majoring in film and animation. But as Hans Richter portrays the functions of essay film: “[it] can employ an incomparably greater reservoir of expressive means…” (TEDx Talks, 2016) The same can be said about videoessays and if you watched the video above, you will understand the difference between those terms.

And this slight difference, skillfully explained by Evan Puschak, is what creates a leeway for this term to be integrated into the sphere of education. Why not give the students a chance to create and receive information in new exciting ways, letting the audiovisual learners thrive and others to enjoy a breath of fresh air from the digital window, into the wonderful world of videoessays.


Liu, Z. (2005). Reading behavior in the digital environment. Journal of Documentation61(6), 700–712. doi:10.1108/00220410510632040

TEDx Talks. (2016, June 9). How YouTube changed the essay | Evan Puschak | TEDxLafayetteCollege [Video file]. Retrieved from

[Online image]. Retrieved January 14, 2017 from

7 thoughts on “TL;DR (Too long; didn’t read) generation, or the rise of the videoessay

  1. Dear Sagida,

    Where do you get all these brilliant ideas from? I read your post in one breath because it is so curious and engaging! Your writing style perfectly suits this type of work.
    The topic you are writing about is completely new for me, but I definitely enjoy this genre. It is of paramount importance to cater for the needs of young people using the tools of our fast-developing teachnology age. However, I am rather sceptical about wide spread of this genre due to some reasons. Firstly, almost everyone knows how to write, but far less people are familiar with the basics of film-making. Thus, it’s easier to put words together rather than spend hours editing and montaging video pieces. Just a matter of habit. Secondly, I believe a number of academics would oppose this type of assignment because classical essay writing has been around for a couple centures and teachers/professors would need to rethink their long-present practices. Thirdly, even though there are 65% of visual learners (as the video author claims), there is remaining 35% who prefer other learning methods.
    All in all, this initiative is great, however, it may not become mainstream and accepted in all academic institutions.
    What would you like to create your own video essay about? Have you got necessary skills for that?

    Kind regards,



    1. Dear Lenera,

      Thank you for your thoughtful reply.
      I do agree with you that creating a videoessay is much more time consuming and challenging than just writing one, but I do believe that some people interested in the sphere of videoediting would love the opportunity to apply their skills and try their hand at something new.
      Whereas for the 35% of non-visual learners, I think that the format of videoessay can be provided as one of the aviable options which anybody could choose if they find it as a way that they can best express their thoughts and ideas, while others could choose the format suitable to their style of learning.
      This does create more workload for a teacher, and some of them would certainly be unwilling to change their ways, but I think that even for teachers it would be more enjoyable to grade different formats of creative expression of thought than jut the traditional written essay.
      Sadly, I do not posess the skills necessary to create a professional videoessay, but if I were to try my hand at it, I would love to tackle the topic of “Zombies as an allegory for rising human emotional detachment and indifference”. I ahve seen comparisons of zombie phenomenon as a metaphor for mindless consumerism and even American national debt, and I would enjoy discussing it from the emotional point of view.

      Best Regards,

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Superb first post! (5/5) I have to first say how impressed I am with your sentence variety. I know that makes me sound too much like an English teacher, but hey.

    Consider these two examples: the first is a centered subordinated style, and the second is loose, but builds details in a cumulative fashion.

    “To keep up with modern world, education is gradually becoming more digitalized, employing new technology in innovative and original ways.”

    “Education becoming more digital is great, but we should consider the trend among younger generations – the decline in the attention span during reading online – posing as an obstacle to the high quality of education.”

    With this high level of skill in sentence variety and word choice, you could write about almost any topic, and readers like me would be hooked. However, and luckily for non-English teacher readers, you also present keen observations on an important shift in education.


  3. Loved your post. Videoessay is such an innovation. Would love to experience it. The thing that I am completely lacking skills to produce a videoessay makes it even more appealing to me. Afterall, school is the place you learn something new. I believe that this sort of an approach stimulates creativity and brings more diversity in the classroom activities. I 100% agree that a great deal of information is conveyed through video resources and employing this trend in education could be an exciting and effective tool. Just curious about the details. At what levels of education do you think videoessays might work and should they completely replace essays or just be used alongside with the conservative writing?


    1. I believe videoessays to be a tool which will be a possible variety of all the options from which students will be able to choose. It is too early to talk about complete replacement, but in 10 years time – who knows how drastically the education sysem will change?
      As for the question about the level of education, I would say higher education, when the students have the basic understanding of what an essay is and what is the actual point of writing one.


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