The Power of Video

Ali Guinn

November 2, 2011

Tunak Tunak Tun was an odd video I stumbled upon my freshman year of college. Interestingly enough, a decade later, I still remember the costumes, dance moves and character(s). In fact, I remember enough that I could probably give you a fairly accurate impromptu reenactment of this music video (warning: it’s not pretty).

I find it interesting that I can recant more from a silly music video I saw a few times than I can from the courses I tirelessly studied for in college. The fact is this, we only remember (approximately) 10% of what we read, 20% of what we hear and 30% of what we see. However, we remember 50% of what we hear AND see! (source).

We have millions of years of communication “training” in our genetics and only a fraction of that when it comes to simply reading. It seems only natural that the amount of information we gather through watching and listening would be better retained.

I can think of countless times my communication efforts failed, not because I didn’t explain something accurately, but because somebody on the other end of the telephone couldn’t see what my facial expressions were saying and vice versa. We gather information through gestures, eye contact, facial and tonal expressions. In fact, part of understanding communication is imitating the expressions others make as they speak to us! (For a fascinating study on botox and emotions, click here). If I pay attention, I can feel the muscles in my face scrunching right now.

Through video, we are able to see and hear, and in turn, react to what is being shared. Through the web, we are able to surf through billions of videos. In his TED Talk, Chris Anderson explains the power video brings to the world. He argues that video can power global innovation. By putting a video online, you expose it to large crowds of innovators, trend spotters, skeptics, commentators, mavericks, cheerleaders and super-spreaders. He explains that you allow for these crowds to bring “light” and “desire” to an idea. Anyone, anywhere in the world can have the best of the best at their fingertips. An example is the LXD, dancers who use the power of the internet to evolve and inspire.

Video packs a huge amount of data our brains are hard-wired to decode, allowing for video driven evolution of skills, sharing of ideas, and a simplified platform that allows for non-verbal communication to be delivered. The simple fact that we are able to to sit in front of the world’s finest to watch, learn, collaborate, and share new information is simply amazing.

LXD: Legion of Extraordinary Dancers
“I used to go on and print out how-to-dos, and take it to school and read it. And when the teacher wasn’t looking I’d try the moves…I think LXD will take dancing to the next level. I’ve never done anything like this in my life.” – Luis Rosado


TED Talks Chris Anderson: How Web Video Powers Global Innovation

And finally, a special treat, Tunak Tunak Tun!