We spend most of our time with our smartphones vertically oriented. In my experience, articles read more smoothly vertically, and typing on the long horizontal keyboard is finger-torture. But without fail, I rotate my phone to watch videos “how they’re meant to be seen.” But Farhad Manjoo argues, writing for The New York Times, that the right way may not really be the best way.

We’re used to horizontal viewing from movies and television, but apps like Snapchat, which produces about three billion vertical videos per day, are shifting us away from the past. Not only is the vertical video increasingly common, it’s more practical. Manjoo writes, “focusing on the most important action and leaving out any extraneous detail, vertical video creates an intensity that might have been lacking if the clips were shot horizontally.”

YouTube and other streaming apps, like Facebook, are accommodating verticals more and more to keep up with the vanguard. Admittedly, it does look a bit weird at first after spending a lifetime watching horizontals. Vertical is the future, though, because it opens more creative opportunities for millions of amateur directors currently plying their trade with personal videos. Movies like The Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield used the camcorder like a character. It’s only a matter of time before the first true iPhone blockbuster emerges — and it’s good.

Photos via m.p.3./Flickr