I read one of the most amazing stats today. Are you sitting down? Mankind has spent a total of 140 Million hours watching the video Gangnam Style. 140 Million hours. At most recent count it has 2.3 billion views and at a little over four minutes in length, you can do the math.
The good folks over at The Economist put together a handy chart to give you an idea of what else has been accomplished in that same 140 Million hours. Some Highlights:
- The Empire State Building was built 20 times over
- The Great Pyramid was built x 4
- The Wikipedia was written and edited one and a half times
Here is the chart to see some of the other works that could have been completed in that same time.
Those are some seriously huge undertakings, and they highlight a few big takeaways.
1. We have massive amounts of free time, so much so that more time has been devoted to one piece of entertainment that has been devoted to any single public works project in the history of mankind.
2. Even small increments of time invested can add up to a huge investment if people are directed to use that time in a similar way. Online videos have a unique ability to present themselves to massive audiences and capture our attention. Churches need to take heed – maybe a 45 minute sermon video doesn’t work in our bite sized media culture.
3. I am reminded of Jesus’ teachings as we are preparing for a series on The Sermon on the Mount. Each one of his teachings in that sermon were short, bite sized take home nuggets that were catchy and easy to remember. For instance Matthew 7:13-14 is a whole teaching –
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
It’s pithy, to the point and enough for someone to process.
4. Psy is an amazing entertainer with a message that is silly at times and despicable at others who has engaged hundreds of millions of people. As followers of Jesus, we hold the most important message in the world. It is imperative that we look at our strategies in delivering it in order to maximize our audience.
5. My son Oliver has probably contributed about 200 of those views, representing 13 man hours, just for the scene where Psy is singing on the toilet.
There is no denying that this video is one of the most amazing cultural phenomenons of our time, and based on hours spent watching it it may be bigger than just our time. While we have been thoroughly entertained, what has been the cost?