I’ve watched the increasing popularity of online video for years, but I didn’t realize how prevalent it had become until I saw an online catalogue recently.
Many product listings included short video clips to provide a better view.
The 10-second clip showed a waterproof jacket from various angles.
Until I saw that site, I wouldn’t have imagined a major retailer would include video to show me a jacket.
Many other items listed in the online catalogue also included a short video clip.
On social media platforms, especially Facebook, the number of text-only posts are decreasing and the number of picture or video posts are on the increase.
In June, Nicola Mendelsohn, Facebook’s vice-president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, told an audience that the social media giant will probably be all video within five years.
She has statistics to back up her claim.
At present, more than eight billion videos are views on Facebook each day. A year ago, the number was one billion videos each day.
Each day, Facebook users around the world view around 100 million hours of video on mobile devices alone.
Even with Facebook’s huge base of 1.71 billion active users worldwide, this number is staggering
Watching all of the videos posted to Facebook in a single day would take 11,415.5 years.
And it’s not just on Facebook where video is on the increase. Every minute, YouTube users upload 300 hours of video.
There’s a noticeable shift in online communications from text to pictures and video. It’s a significant change in the way we communicate, and it also represents a change in the way we receive and process information.
Reading requires active participation from the reader. It takes a lot more effort than watching a video, which is sometimes described as passive.
Because watching video requires less effort than reading text, it’s possible to take in far more information. According to a 2015 article from Psychology Today, the human brain processes video 60,000 times as fast as it processes text.
As communications technology improves, it becomes easier to produce and upload a short video.
A few years ago, special equipment and special software were needed. Today, anyone with a smart phone can create a video and post it online, sometimes within seconds.
I’ve noticed a difference in the way I handle text-based information and video-based information.
When I have text in front of me, whether in print or as an article online, I can take time to reread a sentence or a paragraph and consider what is being said. I’m far less likely to do that with a video clip.
And when the subject matter is something abstract or statistical, the presentation may work best in printed form.
I’m partial to text, partly because I’ve spent my career working with the written word.
But in the end, I’m more concerned with the quality and accuracy of the information than with its format.
And, as the shift to video continues, I’m also interested in the way we handle video-based information.
The rapid rise of online video is a significant change in communications technology.
The effects of this shift have yet to be determined.
John Arendt is the editor of the Summerland Review.