The World Is Filled With Filler
Did the Education System Teach Us Not to Get to the Point?
I know this is a bit of a humorous subject, but I see filler everywhere. I see it on YouTube videos, news articles, TV shows, and movies. We even have a 600 word minimum for these articles. It got me to wonder why do we have so much filler, especially when times are moving much faster. Don't we want to get to the point a lot faster? My thoughts about this always come back to school. There's a few points that I want to get to, but how did I get to this subject?
I was searching for "how to" videos for fixing my car. Every time I looked for an instruction video I noticed that they were at least 5 to 10 minute long videos and the actual instructions were a mere 30 seconds. The videos would all start with some grand production intro video, followed by an introduction of the author. The author would go into how they discovered they had an issue, explained obstacles they encountered then went into how they found the solution. Even as they were about to explain the solution they'd add warnings of using their method etc. I literally skip one to three minutes of these video intros to find the main information. Do they really need to be as long as they are? I'd find this in a lot of instructional videos and even review of products and services for the most part are like this but aren't quite as bad.
I understand the grand production video for their introductions because they're probably trying to make a channel out of do it yourself videos. A lot of the introduction explanations are generally not needed and can at times be repetitive. I don't know who would need that much explanation of how they got to the problem and how they found the solution. People looking at the video have their own stories and are just concerned with the solution. It's too bad we focus on videos rather than short articles because if it's written out we can simply skim through the filler and get to the good parts. Unfortunately even articles have to be a certain length. These articles have to have a minimum of 600 words in order to get published!
I think this mentality comes from our education system. Essays have to be written with a minimum word count. How are we taught to write? We're taught to provide an introduction and a conclusion. The teachers that I've had even went so far as to give me ideas of how to add fillers such as writing how I felt about things. I was told to use different types of arguments and counter those arguments. While these techniques are great I think there's a time and a place to use them. Instructions and reviews don't really need so much filler. There is a main topic and the reader is ultimately looking for one result. There are exceptions of course but for the most part I think we are overusing fillers a lot. How many times have you been stuck in a workshop or conference because the speaker is repeating or stretching the topic.
I remember even in math class we had problem solving questions were you'd have to write out and explain the answer. You'd have to explain in your answer how you got your answer and why you used the method. You'd get partial points even if the answer was wrong! Again you got points in a math test if the math answer was wrong. That's just ridiculous. It's just teaching kids you can talk your way out of everything.
In the end, I think we should think logically about our audiences when we're creating content. We don't have to make them so large that the audience will need to skip or skim to find the information they need. Maybe we need an update to the education system to help with logical thinking and maybe more empathy so we understand what others might want in our content. Or maybe this whole write-up is just a filler to prove my point.