12 seconds of fame


Through the wonders of Twitter, I have been directed towards 12secondstv.

Billed as “a super easy way to share what you’re doing with your friends and family using short video clips,” it’s like a version of BBC 3’s 60 second news for the common man.

The beauty of the concept, in our short attention span culture, is that it’s so restrictive. Twelve seconds is just the right amount of time to say something – or to say not very much, as most people choose to do.

It’s also incredibly easy to use, if you have the right kit. Just plug in your camera and the site will automatically detect it; click record and you’ve got twelve seconds to get your message across.

A quick browse of recent contributions reveals snowfall outside a house in Eden Prairie, Minnesota; a woman reciting a brilliantly-timed tongue twister; and a guy who leans in to the camera and whispers simply, “I’m not wearing pants. But you’ll never know.”

To help the process along or perhaps attempt to restore some order among the chaos, the site sets a daily challenge.

A few days ago the inevitable request was to ‘Tell us something that has nothing to do with the election’, and on Friday users were asked to decide ‘If Rocky fought Mr T, who would win?’

Most people choose to ignore the challenge and simply post 12 seconds of whatever is going on in their world at the time.

There is a 12 second clip of a Lionel Richie gig; a Korean lady who has just booked her flights to Malaysia; and a stunningly fast guitar solo.

I have yet to add my own clip, mainly because Fridays are quiet in our office and if I started talking to my computer they might finally ship me off to the funny farm. I will try it out in the comfort of my own home soon.

The point of all this is yet to become clear to me. In terms of news, it would be almost impossible to communicate anything other than headlines within the allocated time. But it doesn’t seem to be set up for anything other than a bit of fun.

My scepticism about self-indulgent status updates remains, but it’s amazing how much more interesting people’s lives are when you can actually see their faces.


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