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The Reels on the bus

Yesterday, I mentioned the unprecedented pace of social change and its effect on Westminster politics. Today, I’m thinking about something similar, albeit on a very small scale.

A decade ago, Facebook boldly announced a ‘shift to video’, predicting that most posts on Facebook’s ‘newsfeed’ would be videos within five years.

Much of the technology commentariat was unconvinced. They argued that people don’t like using headphones—and wouldn’t put up with subtitles to watch silently. Perhaps they were right: video didn’t take off in the way that Facebook expected, and lawsuits followed.

Fast-forward a decade, and today you’ll find me sitting in a coffee shop, with headphones in: not because I’m watching videos, but to block out the noise from those who are. In just a few years, it seems to have become socially acceptable for people to watch videos without headphones in public places. Shorts have become acceptable in restaurants when they’re the YouTube version; the Reels on the bus go round and round; the prevailing sound on trains has become TikTok rather than clackety-clack.

I don’t especially begrudge this: social norms are in constant flux, and there’s little point being curmudgeonly. But blimey, it’s been a quick change from being unviable to being unavoidable.

The image at the top of the post was generated by Playground 2.5.

This post was filed under: Technology, .

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