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Short form content: The Good the Bad and the Ugly


From a simple cooking tutorial to the most heinous crime you have ever witnessed, short-timed content has become the Wild West of modern media. TikTok, Instagram Reels, and YouTube Shorts are the most popular options to satisfy the short attention span that is prominent in the younger generations. Within these applications, viewers can find a wide variety of content, based on an algorithm unique to each viewer. Regardless of the algorithm, the difference between applications can be seen in the general content. As an avid user of all three media sites, I can give the facts and pro tips to successfully navigate the deep depths of each social media platform.

TikTok: The Good

If there is nothing wrong with it, don’t fix it. This phrase describes TikTok quite well. I am not saying that the app is perfect, but it is pretty close. The app is great for promotion of personal or professional content, giving any creator the potential to “blow up” or in other words, become popular. The algorithm usually fits the user well with some random videos every now and then. One of the few downsides to TikTok is the less than normal income for content creators. To combat the rigged system, influencers usually have other social media accounts or products that they promote.

YouTube Shorts: The Bad

Being late to the short-form content game, YouTube Shorts has struggled since its birth in September of 2020. This struggle is found in how poor the personal algorithm is. YouTube will feed the viewer a video that is completely random, then proceed to only show that type of content for the next week. Along with the putrid algorithm, the content itself is outdated. On the internet, content has a short life span. A joke can only be used for about a day before it goes stale. Just as YouTube Shorts was last to set up their short form content, their videos are always outdated compared to other platforms. This major downside has set a juvenile stereotype for all proactive YouTube Shorts users. 

Instagram Reels: The Ugly

There has never been a mentally stable person on this Earth that has ever said that they enjoy Instagram Reels. The chance of finding the most horrific accident caught on video is too high for comfort on the app. Viewing content through Instagram is all risk and no reward. Along with the warzone of content, the algorithm is non-existent. One might find themselves watching the same creator four out of five reels watched, then a week later, they are never to be found again. 

Some readers might disagree with these rankings. I realize that many prefer Instagram Reels over YouTube Shorts, myself included. However, I believe that because you can witness literal death of living creatures on a social media platform, that platform should morally be ranked last. If a viewer can be emotionally scared from a short video, it brings to question the reliability of the company. Personally, I normally do not visit TikTok often, yet every time I find myself scrolling, I never face regrets. Because TikTok is not broken, Instagram is cursed, and YouTube is not as exciting, my rankings stand strong. It should be known that the internet is a dangerous place, yet with short form content, a day could be made or ruined within the span as short as five seconds.

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About the Contributor
Zach Wooten
Zach Wooten, Editor in Chief
Zach joined The Mount Journalism team in 2022. Outside of school Zach enjoys taking pictures and playing tennis.
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