Tag Archives: culture

Video is adding to the rise of misinformation

Rich media, in particular video, is a low “resolution” method of obtaining information. Low because for the amount of bandwidth consumed, there is very little information content.

I never really understood why video on the web is such a big fascination. For entertainment and occasional news information it is fine. And, for some stories it is important to see the participants involved (for those non-verbal cues). However, for really understanding the news or some topic it is necessarily limited. In broadcast networks and web media it is composed of sound bites, interruptions, and entertainment. It is basically just a vehicle to sell advertising to sponsors. If you see a video about some event X, the next video you see also about X will not contain any new information.

A great example of this is the talk and interview shows. Invariably someone being interviewed will not answer questions addressed to them, important questions. Instead, the opportunity is taken to regurgitate what was said minutes before. Hence, no information.

The viewer, us, is conditioned to think that they got new information, but really they were manipulated. Video is a passive medium, you just look. It requires no interaction and exercise of logical thought, just emotional reaction.

Where to get information? Reading. Reading diverse sources and viewpoints will give one a better appreciation for reality, which is complex, nuanced, and bereft of easy answers. Not that one will automatically know what to think or decide on a course of action, but one will hopefully be more resistant to being manipulated, ’emotionalized’. With the looming elections in the USA, that is very important. There will probably be billions of dollars spent on double-speak and non-content news.

Updates

  1. Jul 29, 2012: Intentional ‘misinformation’ is really ‘disinformation’. I think I read this somewhere.
  2. Just had a thought, is video adding to illiteracy? Why read, there will be a talking head somewhere to tell you what to think about something.

Some related links
Note how some arguments against TV were made in the 70’s. Is the web the new TV?

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