I’m not sure what the stats are on this and I’m not even sure anyone has (or even can) compile this at a global level but there is just so much content out there. Anecdotally and instinctually there is an accelerating amount of content.
I joke with my partner (who is an “professional” film and tv watcher) that I’m pretty sure if you counted all the hours of just tv and film that has come out and will be coming out in the next decade, we wouldn’t have enough hours in the rest of our lives to watch it all! Again, I haven’t done the actual study on this but doesn’t it just feel like that with all the ways we can watch new tv series from Disney+, CBS All Access, Discovery+, Netflix, YouTube, TikTok etc.
But … may that was always the case whether we had linear tv or streaming platforms that serve us things on-demand.
Though, I do find that the process of discovery, curation and tracking become increasingly impossible when there is this explosion of content in this “golden age” of television (and film and photos and short-form videos and user-generated content, blogs, vlogs and on and on it goes…)
Maybe it’s just a cause or an effect of this explosion of content, but I admit that I’m increasingly selective any content I pick up. Like many personalities I follow closely (Charlie Munger and Jason Zweig among them), I tend to “drop” any content that isn’t the best (in my opinion) after the first sentence, scene or sound.
One can say it’s dismissive. And it is.
I’ve dismissed some great content that I later had to backtrack and re-consume. Though I think that’s the nature of our world today with so much content, there just really isn’t enough minutes in a year (525600) to take it all in.
An aside to this is: I wonder about how much of the content we consume follows the Power Law. My gut feeling is that it does.
For content to be really good, the “people” matter. The subject matter matters. The end product made for consumption matters. Sometimes just one of these dimensions make the difference, sometimes it needs to be all the above and more.
In my small sample, I’ve found this to be the case among the investing/business/entrepreneurship free newsletters that I subscribe to. The best author makes the most waves; there is a narrative, there is compelling arguments, there are many quotes and annotations among their opinions. It reads well, and leaves a mark that helps you think through something you’ve been already thinking about or are now ready to consider.
With that, I’ve “dropped” many seemingly great newsletters writers over the years and only focussed on the ones that I know produce consistently good material.
Especially when there is so much content out there, there is even more of a need to be discerning over which pieces you want to consume. My suggestion is to incorporate the Power Law into your selection criteria; the best content / content creators are likely 10x better than the rest.
After all, one doesn’t need that much knowledge and/or entertainment. Sometimes it bears reminding that the tried and true are things we should be returning to not necessarily seeking new things to consume. (Haven’t you gone back and rewatched one of your favourite shows? For me this was Lost. For my partner, it was The Sopranos.)
It should come as no surprise to the regular reader of this blog which other bloggers I frequent (and is frequently features in my weekly ‘3 Best Reads‘) but I’ll include my current favourites: