The surprising popularity of boring streams

In the past, making videos and broadcasting them was expensive, meaning that video creators were often a little more selective when it came to recording events. However, this all changed in the digital age. Those previous financial restrictions were removed and people started recording things just because they could.

America’s Funniest Home Videos, the countless cat and baby videos on YouTube and amateur vlogging efforts on the interwebs all stand as testament to the fact that those holding cameras these days are just keen to catch something, no matter what that might be. 

And this trend of recording for the sake of recording has now taken another step with the advent of live streaming, which is great during live sporting events but isn’t necessarily all that entertaining in other cases.

A latter example of this would be George FM’s recent decision to live stream footage of a jar of lollies in its offices.

Watch the stream here.     

This unconventional use of live streaming comes as part of a competition to win tickets to Lollapalooza hosted annually at Chicago’s Grant Park. To win this prize, users entrants have to guess how many lollies are contained within the jar.

Given that the competition doesn’t necessitate video footage, this raises the question: why did the George FM team not just add an imager of the jar to the website?

Even though the stream is being used sporadically to give viewers tips on when to tune into the stream, both Twitter and Facebook seem like more viable communication devices than sharpie written onto the studio’s glass windows.    

However, humans have in the past shown the proclivity to be interested in small changes recorded over an extended period of time. 

A good example of this would be the world’s slowest drip. In an experiment set up at Trinity College Dublin in 1944, professors set out to demonstrate the high viscosity of asphalt (a material that appears to be solid, but which is actually flowing incredibly slowly).

In 2000, the scientists finally caught a drop falling—something which is incredibly impressive given that it takes around seven to 13 years for the drop to form and only a tenth of a second to fall.

Following the hype created by this experiment, Scientists in Queensland set up a live stream of the its experiment and also caught the drop falling in April last year.    

That drop marked the nine time that a drop fell since the experiment was first set up in 1944, and the live stream has now been set up for in anticipation of the the tenth drop that will fall in around 14 years. 

Somewhat surprisingly, the live stream has been watched more than 418,668 hours since it was first established, illustrating that even the most mundane footage can prove popular.

This tendency has also led to the bizarre rise of slow TV in Norway, which sees hundreds of thousands of Norweigians tuning in every year to watch long video clips of train and boat journeys on television.    


So while George FM’s latest campaign might seem ridiculous, there’s always the possibility that New Zealand’s slow TV aficionados come out the woodwork to spend a few hours watching radio personalities walking around a studio. 

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