No Shortcuts to Excellence: Embracing Depth in the Digital Age

David Nair
6 min readMay 29, 2024

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In today’s fast-paced world, where instant gratification often takes precedence over long-term rewards, the pursuit of excellence can seem like a relic of a bygone era. This phenomenon is especially evident in the realm of social media, where short-form content has reigned supreme for years. However, there’s a growing trend that signifies a return to more substantive and in-depth content. Platforms like Instagram and TikTok are extending their maximum video lengths, catering to a renewed interest in comprehensive, engaging content. This shift underscores a crucial lesson: true excellence requires time, effort, and a deep dive into detail — shortcuts simply won’t suffice.

The Allure of Shortcuts

The digital age has fostered a culture of immediacy. From fast food to quick fixes, the idea of “close enough is good enough” permeates many aspects of our lives. Social media has not been immune to this trend. The rise of platforms like Vine, with its six-second videos, and the popularity of short-form content on TikTok and Instagram Reels, exemplify society’s penchant for brevity. These formats cater to dwindling attention spans and the desire for quick consumption. Yet, while these snippets may entertain, they often lack the depth necessary to truly educate, inspire, or engage on a meaningful level.

The Resurgence of Long-Form Content

Interestingly, there’s a noticeable shift occurring within social media circles. Platforms are increasingly accommodating longer videos, recognizing that substantial content can provide more value. For instance, TikTok has extended its video length from one minute to three and now even allows up to ten minutes for select users. Similarly, Instagram’s IGTV and extended Reels features enable creators to delve deeper into their topics. This trend is a response to users’ growing appetite for more thorough, well-rounded content that can answer questions comprehensively and foster deeper engagement​

The Value of Deep Diving

Why is this shift significant? It highlights an essential truth: excellence cannot be rushed. Just as the human gestation period is nine months, and fine cheeses and wines take time to mature, so too does the creation of valuable content. Shortcuts often result in superficial understanding and fleeting engagement. In contrast, a deep dive into a subject can lead to genuine insight, sustained interest, and meaningful connections with the audience.

Consider the realm of education. Effective teaching doesn’t rely on skimming the surface but on exploring topics in depth, encouraging critical thinking and thorough understanding. Similarly, in content creation, taking the time to research, develop, and present information in a detailed manner can significantly enhance the viewer’s experience and knowledge.

Lessons from Nature

Nature provides ample examples of the virtue of patience and the futility of shortcuts. The human gestation period is a prime example. It takes approximately nine months for a baby to develop fully in the womb, a process that cannot be rushed without serious consequences. This natural timeline ensures that the baby is adequately prepared for life outside the womb.

Similarly, the process of making quality products like cheese and wine involves time and patience. Cheese needs to be aged to develop its flavours, and fine wine must be allowed to mature to reach its full potential. These processes, which can take months or even years, cannot be hurried. The result of such patience is a product that is richer, more complex, and more satisfying than any quick alternative.

The Pitfalls of Shortcut Culture

The prevalence of shortcut culture in social media reflects broader societal trends. We live in an era where speed is often valued over quality. This mindset can be detrimental, leading to a lack of depth and a superficial approach to various aspects of life. In the context of social media, this has meant an over-reliance on short, snappy content that prioritizes virality over substance.

However, this approach is increasingly being recognized as insufficient. Users are beginning to crave more from their digital interactions. They want content that not only entertains but also educates, informs, and inspires. This demand is driving the shift towards longer, more detailed content on platforms traditionally known for brevity​

The Role of Social Search

Another emerging trend is the rise of social search, where users turn to social media platforms for information instead of traditional search engines. This trend underscores the importance of detailed, high-quality content. When users seek information on social media, they are looking for comprehensive answers and valuable insights. Short, superficial content often falls short of these expectations, highlighting the need for a more in-depth approach.

Social search is transforming platforms like TikTok and Instagram into powerful tools for information discovery and learning. This shift not only changes how users interact with these platforms but also raises the bar for content creators. Those who can provide thorough, well-researched content are likely to stand out and attract a more engaged audience​

Embracing Depth in Content Creation

For content creators, embracing depth means more than just increasing video lengths. It involves a commitment to quality and a willingness to invest time and effort into each piece of content. Here are some strategies to achieve this:

  1. Research Thoroughly: Before creating content, invest time in researching the topic. Understand the nuances and complexities and gather a variety of perspectives to provide a well-rounded view.
  2. Plan and Structure: Outline your content to ensure it flows logically and covers all necessary points. A well-structured video or article is more likely to hold the viewer’s attention and convey the intended message effectively.
  3. Engage with Your Audience: Encourage feedback and interaction from your audience. Use their questions and comments to guide future content, ensuring it addresses their interests and concerns in detail.
  4. Invest in Quality Production: High-quality visuals and sound can enhance the viewer’s experience, making them more likely to engage with and remember the content.
  5. Provide Value: Focus on delivering content that offers real value to your audience. Whether it’s through education, inspiration, or entertainment, ensure your content meets a need or solves a problem for your viewers.

Conclusion

In a world driven by the pursuit of instant gratification, the resurgence of longer, more detailed content on social media platforms is a welcome change. It serves as a reminder that excellence requires time, effort, and a willingness to delve deep into subjects. Shortcuts may offer quick wins, but they often fall short in providing lasting value. By embracing a more thorough and detailed approach, content creators can engage their audience more meaningfully and stand out in an increasingly crowded digital landscape. Just as nature’s processes cannot be rushed, the journey to excellence in content creation is one that demands patience, dedication, and a commitment to quality.

The journey to success is paved with time, effort, and a commitment to excellence. Learn more: mentalresiliencemastery.com

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David Nair

Mentor| Author of the book “IeXceL”| Life Coach| Corporate Strategist| Speaker| Peak Performance Strategist | Youtuber | Podcaster | Blogger