Monday, March 5, 2018

0: silent but deadly

My observe deals with the automatic video playing that I find on facebook and instagram. When scrolling through a feed, the videos begin silently playing. I found that even if I wasn’t pulled in by the static image at first, when it became “moving”, I suddenly became more interested in the story.
A picture is worth a thousand words, but moving pictures tell a story. As I’m scrolling, I only get a second or two in the clip before I potentially scroll past, but I found that this is just enough time to hook me. In just a second or two, the story begins to unfold.
The silent aspect of the video adds to the hook. It makes me think that I get to choose whether to hear the audio or not, but it’s actually about me not being in the know. I can see the kids giggling, I can see people talking, I can see things that need to make sound, but I’m restricted. Facebook says “no, don’t hear this” and my mind says “why not?”.
Initially I thought that the silent video was a nice feature, which surpasses the current auto-loading videos which blast their audio content without concern, but now I’m not so sure. Facebook doesn’t seem to change (or do) anything unless is 1) benefits them and 2) uses psychology against (maybe even for??) us. I’m irritated by auto-loaded videos which blast their audio, but I more than tolerate the silent auto-loaded videos. In fact, I’m more likely to watch a silent auto-load than an audible auto-load. I think facebook (also read: instagram, snapchat, etc) knows that.