What I Learned From Taking a 1-Second Video Everyday in 2016
Each day in 2016, I recorded a 1.5-second video through an app called 1 Second Everyday. After 365 days of this, I compiled them together into a full video which is roughly 10 minutes long.
I had no expectations for this year-long project, but I was curious to see if I would learn anything new, how it might impact my day-to-day life, and if I could even do it the full year.
Overall, it was more challenging than I imagined, and it taught me some valuable things about how I view social media, and how I hope to use it moving forward.
One of the reasons why I enjoyed this project so much is because it represents what life is actually like, as opposed to my “Hall of Fame” of photos and videos that I want everyone to see. It was a real representation of what I do, who I am, and where I spend my time.
I quickly learned that just a few seconds of video from an activity is enough to remind me of that entire moment. It allowed me to be present yet still document what I was doing.
Documenting my experiences also became a new favorite way to capture my day-to-day life. Everything from a typical day at work, to traveling across the world. Whatever it was, I recorded for a few seconds, put my phone away, and actually enjoyed the moment.
Those clips can be mixed together in any way too. For example, when traveling, I would take multiple videos each day. Even though I could only choose one of them per day for my year-long project, I decided to use all the recordings from a trip to create its own video of short clips spliced together. For me, it’s much better than posting photos one-by-one throughout the trip. It’s essentially my own version of journaling.
For context, I rarely post on Facebook and Instagram. When I do, it usually has a specific purpose such as a milestone or travel experience. For the most part, I privately send photos, videos, and messages to friends and family in Messenger. Occasionally I’ll use Snapchat, but again, only sending things directly to friends instead of posting to Stories for everyone to see.
So, this project wasn’t a way for me to go cold-turkey or drastically change anything from what I’m used to doing. Just an experiment more or less.
I feel, collectively, that we’re addicted to social media, and more specifically, to the feeling of getting attention and “Likes” on our posts. It seems toxic.
Recently, I watched comedian Bo Burnham’s stand-up special, and towards the end he talks about social media and how he views it. He has an interesting perspective. I both agree and disagree with his points, but it’s something I definitely think about often…
“Social media is just the market’s answer to a generation that demanded to perform. So the market said ‘here, perform everything to each other, all the time, for no reason.’ It’s prison. It’s horrific. It’s performer and audience melded together. What do we want more than to lie in our bed at the end of the day and watch our life as a satisfied audience member. I know very little about anything, but what I do know is that if you can live your life without an audience, you should do it… and now you’re thinking… how the fuck are you going to dig the show out of this weird hole?”
Yes, I thumb through Facebook and Instagram to fill the frequent, short gaps in my day with photos and videos of people, publishers, and pages I follow. But it does feel empty. It’s “escape time” to me. It feels good in the moment, and maybe I’ll learn something new, but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to look back and be happy if that’s how I spent the majority of my time. It adds up.
I’m no longer taking a 1-second video everyday, but I am curious to see how 2016 will compare to 2017. Will these 365 days feels longer? Shorter? Better? Worse? Perhaps the video project has nothing to do with my feelings?
I believe in trying things out, taking what I like, and learning from what I didn’t, and while I‘ll always evaluate how I spend my time, it certainly doesn’t hurt to complete a year-long project that I always wanted to do.