You’re halfway through the week and the workday, and it’s time for a break. Why not take a walk in the park?
With The New York Times?
On your phone?
Today (April 28) the newspaper ran its third Facebook Live video of a very, very long walk in a park. For close to an hour, viewers could tune in to see a small, square live-stream of Fort Tryon Park, a quiet strip in the very upper reaches of Manhattan.
The mindfulness-to-go nature of the videos seems to have struck a chord. In total, a cool half million people have gone onto Facebook to hear the birds and see the trees through the eyes of someone else’s smartphone.
The team behind the videos embraces the pointlessness in earnest: “We have no news hook on our live streams at the park, and we have no news story associated with them,” says Louise Story, executive producer of Facebook Live for The New York Times.
For people who are stuck inside at work with Slacks and Snapchat notifications a-flutter on their screens, the urge to tune into something—anything—more calming makes sense.
Long, super boring video is not new. In 2009 Norway’s public broadcasting company ran a seven-hour, uncut, un-narrated program of a train ride. About a fifth of the country tuned in. “Slow TV,” as it’s called, got its own spin-off in the UK, which included an hour of birds chirping. The US has its own tradition of pointless, mundane video, too. At Christmastime, for example, there’s the hours-long loop of a burning yule log, which premiered in 1966.