Cheezburger's Ben Huh on Why We 'Snack on Information'


Tweet out a joke on Twitter or make a funny video on Vine or Snapchat? You may not know it but you are engaging in the hippest form of communication today: short form content.

Ben Huh, the CEO of Cheezburger, a network of humor websites featuring short form content says, "The six second format, the short form content, the 140 characters, what it

 really says is that we continue to snack on information." Huh says this is the case because widespread use of mobile media devices have impacted what kind of content we want to watch and create.

"If you're looking at a tiny little device in your hand, you're not going to watch a lot of big feature films on it because you don't have the attention span because you are outside in an environment," says Huh. This means you may not want to watch the reboot of the Batman film series on your iPhone, but you may want to watch the very popular Batman parody, BatDad, on Vine.

The six second format put on Vine users is what Huh says leads to creative freedom because users must embrace the constraints around them. "Creativity comes from breaking a rule, breaking through a format, breaking through some restriction you have on yourself."

The idea of form and media is nothing new. The late media and communications philosopher Marshall McLuhan once surmised, "The medium is the message," an idea that was developed by McLuhan during the proliferation of radio and television. Huh says that statement still holds true when it comes to the proliferation of communication on the internet.

"The analogy I use is we used to eat deep dish pizza all the time," says Huh. "What's happened now is that we use a lot of thin crust attention [because] things are spread out over a larger surface area."

Reason TV caught up with Huh at the 2014 South by Southwest Interactive festival where he gave a talk called "The Form Factor is the Messenger," taking a look at how connected devices from 4K TV to wearable technology affect what kind of content we will consume in the future.

Approximately 2:55.

Featured Snapchats and Vines by Sethward, Will Sasso, Tyra Banks and BatDad.

Written and produced by Paul Detrick. Shot by Todd Krainin and Alexis Garcia.

Scroll down for downloadable versions and subscribe to Reason TV's YouTube channel to receive automatic notifications when new material goes live.

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  1. Who ate deep dish pizza?

  2. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has said that the U.S. should send special forces to Nigeria, regardless of Nigerian permission to do so, to rescue the girls kidnapped by Boko Haram if their location is known.

    Is the A-Team busy?

    1. And of course I post to the wrong thread. No more weekday drinking.

      1. You, sirrah! Cease your libel of weekday drinking!

      2. its awesome. Start working at home with Google. It’s a great work at home opportunity. Just work for few hours. I earn up to $500 a week. I can’t believe how easy it was once I tried it out.

  3. Gotta respect Ben because he successfully turned humorous content aggregation into a media empire.

    However, the first thing I always think of when he’s a topic is that several years back a politician ran an ad implying that their opponent belonged on Failblog. Ben got worked up into a froth, claiming that the politician was stealing his idea and that he wanted said politician to cease and desist.

    This from a guy who’s made his fortune appropriating and hosting other’s content and stamping his brand all over it to boot.

  4. I was going to watch the video, but it is too long.

    1. I get it…. *smiles*

      It’s all Greek to me. While I AM in the IT field, I avoid as much of it as I can. No Facebook, twitter or all those other cutely named fads.

      But then again… I am posting a quick reply on the Reason comment site.

      Does that make me REALY old or just a hypocrite?

      1. Just selective.

  5. Meanwhile, back in the real world…

    The Chinese economy is leaving the U.S. economy in the dust and they’re using their economic fortune to build up their military. Putin is actively building up Russia’s military and renewing Russian imperialism. American businesses are failing fast than they’re being replaced. More and more American workers are choosing to live off of their neighbors in exchange for their liberty and dignity. Our national debt is untenable and its just a matter of time till that economic weapon of mass destruction finally explodes.

    No one can name a significant or REAL Hilary Clinton accomplishment yet that won’t stop millions of “people” (certainly not all U.S. citizens) from voting for her or any other democrat who promises them free stuff. Does anyone doubt that “social media” and “popular culture” played a significant role in America’s decline? I seriously doubt communist have changed their evil ways and I’m certain they will be just as inhumane in this century as they were in the last century.

    RIP America and humanity.

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