#FridayThoughts | 24/3
Welcome back to another #FridayThoughts, the weekly blog segment I write summarising the past week on Social Media.
With YouTube’s immense popularity across all ages there of course has to be some kind of regulation of content to prevent younger viewers stumbling across inappropriate content. That’s where ‘restricted mode’ comes in. YouTube created restricted mode to block out any content which may be deemed inappropriate for younger viewers.
Sounds helpful doesn’t it? It was… until users started to noticed videos that touched on LGBT matters, or even were just posted by openly gay channels, were blocked from users that were watching in restricted mode.
“Restricted mode” does not show videos with anything LGBT+ related in its title and blocks out openly gay YouTubers from suggestions. pic.twitter.com/uQ8thgQL12
— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) March 18, 2017
This sparked huge upset online resulting in the hashtag #YouTubeIsOverParty to quickly become the top trend worldwide on Twitter.
It comes as a shock since YouTube have been an openly supportive platform for the LGBT community with previous campaigns such as #ProudToLove. YouTuber Rowan Ellis describes YouTube as a safe haven for the LGBT community with many people sharing their ‘coming out’ story on the platform and looking to others for advice and guidance.
YouTube advertises restricted mode as a way for children and families to avoid seeing “potentially objectionable content”. It flags such videos using “community flagging, age-restrictions, and other signals to identify and filter out potentially inappropriate content.” They claim that LGBT videos are shown to users on the site but to block videos which may discuss sensitive topics.
Users also picked up on the fact that content creators who are openly gay have been blocked from searches and suggestions. One Twitter user picked up on the fact that these homophobic videos were not blocked within Restricted Mode:
— juliana (@julianaarayy) March 20, 2017
However their own video #ProudToLove was:
— Bart Szewczyk (@bart_szewczyk) March 19, 2017
YouTube did give an official statement apologising for their content being blocked, but the statements makes no promises to revoke the block.
A message to our community … pic.twitter.com/oHNiiI7CVs
— YouTube Creators (@YTCreators) March 20, 2017
Whether or not this block was intentional it may well have a negative effect on young viewers who may wish to seek guidance and advice through these blocked videos. I hope that YouTube work on their guidelines and focus on blocking genuinely harmful content from the feature.
Facebook Ad Breaks:
Facebook recently introduced the option for selected eligible pages to begin monetising their videos, introducing ‘ad breaks’ into premium video content to a select group of pages in the US.
Although monotisation is only avaialble to a select group of pages for posted videos, if your page has over 2000 likes and/or you have reached 300 or more simultaneous viewers in a recent live video, you are currently eligible to incorporate ad breaks into your live videos.
Creators are free to add an ad break at anytime during a live video which has been going for 4 minutes or longer and can take additional ad breaks in 5 minute intervals. Every break lasts 20 seconds and is currently unskippable.
From a business perspective I understand the introduction of ads, from a consumer perspective I hate it. You get ad’s on TV, Magazines, YouTube, Online and pretty much everywhere else, so why not Facebook? I get it, but when it disrupts my user experience I don’t like it.
People don’t like to be advertised to and the minute I see there’s an ad break starting on a video, I lose interest and click off. I assume pages will place the advert in a place in the video so that if you do click off during an ad break your view has already been counted, however, I don’t know how unskippable ads are going to fare if they do roll out widespread. With news that YouTube are scrapping unskippable ads to improve user experience, will Facebook decide to follow suit?
If there was an option to skip the ad after a few seconds, in the same way YouTube does, I think they would work a lot better and I would stay engaged with the content I was watching, but when I have to wait 20 seconds to watch the last 30 seconds of a video, is it really worth it?
We all know that millennials attention span is short, it’s reported we now have shorter attention spans than goldfish with an average of nine seconds, and with ad breaks being 20 seconds long, I can see the majority of users not making it through the interval.
In a recent statement Facebook said the following about the testing of ad breaks: “We’re starting to test the Ad Breaks feature in on-demand video, allowing publishers to insert short ad breaks into videos they upload, or into existing videos in their Facebook libraries. A handful of partners in the U.S. are participating in this test. In the coming months we’ll be working with these partners to analyze, learn, and iterate on the early version of this feature. We hope to expand the test to additional partners in the future.”
As it stands I wouldn’t advise clients of mine to monetise their videos in the way that Facebook are currently offering the feature due to the fact is impacts on the overall user experience, but if in the future Facebook adapt the feature to become more user friendly I could see it being a good business move.
The Curse of Social Media:
Following the horrific attacks that happened in London this week Social Media has been full of both unity and hatred. As soon as the news broke, my Twitter feed started flooding with photos from the scene, reporters tweeting and people generally trying to get every detail possible out to their followers and beyond.
So often we see news spreading across Social Media before Traditional Media outlets, which is understandable as it’s a lot more instant and the user gets the credit. But what I noticed from a lot of images and posts was that people seemed more concerned about getting a photo of the scene, presumably for Social Media, as opposed to helping or contacting loved ones or simply running to shelter.
Social Media has created a society that cares so much about sharing your life online and less about living in the moment. I’m not saying that I don’t Snapchat and Tweet about what I’m doing from time to time but it should never be all about that. And especially not in a time as tragic as recent events.
Online recognition and popularity has grown to become more important than integrity and compassion for some. This Tweet I saw on Wednesday says a lot about our generation and just how much Social Media has a hold over some people:
Two kinds of people stand out in the #Westminster footage from today. Those running to help others & those running to take pictures/selfies.
— Chloe Elliott (@ChloeInCurve) March 22, 2017
It has been said that we’re the loneliest generation as a result of Social Media. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, they all contribute to our self-obsession, which contributes to our growing loneliness. So often people spend their lives trying to appeal to others, striving for likes, pouring their life out on a Facebook status and Snapchatting their every move. It’s easy to become engulfed in the world of Social Media where we only see the best, most edited parts of people’s lives and it’s easy to want to add to that.
I’m in no way disregarding Social Media or doubting the fact it’s one of the most powerful tools in the modern world but I hope in generations to come we find the balance between what’s real and what’s not and also when we should be posting and when we should stay connected with the real world.