Time in the digital era

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Time in the digital era

One thing that has changed in the digital era is the sheer scale of numbers. For example, a popular video on YouTube could gain tens of millions of views. Psy’s new song “Daddy” has already been viewed more than 44 million times on YouTube alone. And the online reality show “New Journey to the West” has turned out to be hugely popular in China, with more than 500 million views.

While a simple comparison may not be entirely appropriate, exposure online is fundamentally different than on other media. Movies seen by 10 million people are considered huge hits, and 20 percent viewership is the highest rating for television programming nowadays. The online market is global, and aggregated number of views around the world, including mistakes, adds up to huge numbers. The reality becomes quite surreal, especially considering these astronomical numbers would have been impossible to imagine in the analogue era.

The most-watched YouTube video this year, not including music videos, was 5-year-old Heaven King’s dance to “Watch Me.” It was viewed 116 million times and counting. The 10th-most-watched video, with 34 million views, was a segment from ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” of President Barack Obama reading mean tweets. Total views for the top 10 videos on YouTube stand at 556 million, or 25 million hours.

Counting music videos, that figure grows even more. YouTube is predominantly used for watching music videos, more so than anything else. Wiz Khalifa’s “See You Again” was the most-watched music video this year, with 123 million views. People collectively spent more than 37,000 years watching the top 10 music videos, which included songs by Maroon 5, Taylor Swift and Adele.

How about Korean videos? This year, the most-watched Korean music video on YouTube was Big Bang’s “Bang Bang Bang,” viewed 86 million times. The top video clip was “Sing with Pororo, Season 2, Part 1,” with 18.8 million views.

But there is another indicator in the digital age. According to the 2016 Tech and Media Outlook by U.S. media consulting company Activate, the average American worker’s day had not 24 hours, but 31 hours and 28 minutes in 2014.

People are now multitasking. Americans spend 5 hours and 18 minutes watching videos, 3 hours and 39 minutes listening to audio, 1 hour and 27 minutes on social media and 22 minutes on gaming. Tech and media-related activities added up to more than 11 hours.

The longest daily activity was sleep, 7 hours and 6 minutes, followed by 6 hours and 4 minutes on work and education, then video and audio. Koreans may spend their days differently, but there are clear similarities. Today, we are consuming considerably more digital media, and the 24 hours that everyone equally has in a day is no longer the same.

The author is an editorial writer for the JoongAng Ilbo.

JoongAng Ilbo, Dec. 11, Page 35

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