The Future of Content is Atomic

Why need I volumes, if one word suffice?

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Content is infinite, but the time of man is not. As access to limitless content increases, our attention span decreases. Twitter, TikTok, and other social media prove this trend.

What is atomic content?

An atom is the most basic element of a compound. For content, this looks like a singular-focused, self-contained idea. In practical terms, a piece of atomic content should be consumable in 30-90 seconds.

Why do we want atomic content?

Atomic content skips the excess, the fluff.

This move to atomic content isn't surprising. We love to consume content in the form of bullet points. Why?

  • because everything is broken down

  • and concepts are in their purest form

  • which provides two important magical things

  • a choice (is this worth my time?)

  • and an exit point (new content is a swipe away)

The asterisk: story is still king

There is a caveat to this future of atomic content—story. Story transcends and has no need for length or limit. You can tell a story in 6 words, 6 hours, or 6 seasons and a movie.

Compelling story demands attention, and time will not contain it.

The universe is not made up of atoms; it's made up of tiny stories.

— Joseph Gordon-Levitt