The series on Netflix "13 Reasons Why" probes the underlying reasons of Hannah Baker's suicide. She was a teen. And many of us, of all generations, will see our own past or present suffering in hers.
Released in March, it has been a ratings and critical success. Members of Generation Z are binge-watching it.
Whether that is good or bad for the mental health of Gen Z is being debated.
Some contend the series can make suicide seem a solution to problems to impressionable kids.
Others argue that the raw realities of being a teenager in great pain are being exposed to the light. Smart kids avoid making their suffering known. They recognize how dangerous it can be to their present and future to get on the radar of the guidance counselors in high school. Thanks to this film, now the widespread pain can't be swept under the rug.
But, another reason this series is being discussed is because it's long-form. Each episode runs about 26 minutes. That proves out that youth will not reject content which is compelling, even if absorbing it requires more than 30 seconds. That's good news for content-creators such as us ghostwriters and speechwriters.
The really interesting thing about "13 Reasons Why" is that I first heard of it on the April 21, 2017 edition of "The Gillmor Gang." Essentially, the program consists of a panel discussing technology and its implications. The members of that panel are all over-50.
During the discussion of the future of television, one panel member mentioned that his 14-year-old daughter was transfixed with "13 Reasons Why." That helped convince him that neither television (in all its various forms) nor long form were dead. Here is that "The Gillmor Gang" analysis.
Other evidence that long form isn't dead is that in creating modules for online instruction about environmentalism, I am using detailed descriptions. Sure, I am breaking that into digestible bites. But, still, there is no over-simplification.
In addition, there is growing demand for white papers. Yes, they don't run 40 pages any more. But they still are long-form. And they contain end notes. What has changed, though, is the tone. It's not professorial.
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