The Side Effects of Playback Speed

Faster_Baude_RateRecently I have discovered websites that allow faster playback speed for video lectures — up to two times normal speed.  I now use it constantly!  I will even speed up native New York Speakers to  1.25 or 1.50.  But my usual playback speed is now 2x because it saves me much time in learning and otherwise, I get bored. I love it. I wish I could have sped up my college teachers the same way. But will this play back option cause a problem for me?

I have always been impatient with most other peoples’ slow presentations, and often joke saying, “Would you please pick up your baud rate.”

Obnoxious, aren’t I? Well, I’ve gotten a little better at not saying that, but just when I have started to tame this nerdy-social-defect, out comes Playback Speed options. Now I am speeding up lecture videos all the time to make the listening more tolerable, and I worry if it will flame my impatience with slow thinkers and slow speakers. Will I embarrass myself as these listeners see my eyes searching their body for a “2x button”?  Seriously, will high playback speeds negatively affect society like violent video games and fast cut rates (within and between scenes) in movies?

Question to Readers: Your thoughts?




Filed under Sociology

9 responses to “The Side Effects of Playback Speed

  1. Lamar

    They will only notice you searching, if they’re searching for the 2x button as well. And then, of course, they will say nothing out of embarrassment.

  2. Funny, I just discovered the 2x option the other day completely by accident.
    A very necessary tool, at times. I understand your desiring a 2x option for the occasional slow conversation. Is it bad that I wish my ten year old daughter had a 2x option and my wife a .5x option? 🙂

    It is very possible that the high-speed playback option may affect societies negatively. It may be a bit to soon to grasp the potentiality of the negative affects, but we could, perhaps, analyze the effects of other such things that have speed up our daily lives, activities and social interactions. Could it lead to an increase in attention disorders and hyperactivity disorders? I feel like our society is already moving fast enough, but not all in the right places. I mean, the speed may be good, but it may be more directed to certain personality types, for some the speed and intensity of our culture may need to be slowed down, for others it may need to be sped up.

    I was extremely disappointed in the recent Hobbit movie as I found that the scenes moved entirely to fast, yet all the while I was somehow bored throughout it. Aside from completely straying from the original story, this need for speed left out an immensely important factor as to what made previous Peter Jackson movies great; the appreciation for and time spent on presenting the landscape of Middle Earth. This was absent in the movie and played an important factor to why I thought the most recent movie was a ‘Desecration of the Hobbit’ rather than the ‘Desolation of Smaug’.
    At least, that is my opinion.

  3. I’m afraid it also reflects a sign of the times. We now live in a culture of immediate gratification. I know I’m guilty of this as well at times.

    Maybe some points were just meant to be delivered and fully understood over a longer period of time, though. I would think it’s an insult to many if their story or life is reduced to a sound bite.

    Now, granted, I understand this may be somewhat different depending on the topic of the lecture and the delivery style of the speaker.

    Maybe think of it as a fine meal – food for thought as it were. Some food is fast and mostly unsatisfying, but some meals should be savored and enjoyed. Time should not always be a factor.

  4. @ C2Q:
    LOL about your wife. Yes, I agree it could have negative effects. I’ve not yet watch the Hobbit series but will remember your point and probably agree.

    I agree, some talks, if done well, are actually best heard at their normal slow speed. But depends on style and feeling in the words.

  5. My brain THINKS in playback speed. How gorgeous is this invention!!!

  6. CRL

    One thing I’ve noticed—video lectures seem to be slower than most real life lectures. Partly, the lecturers chosen to be recorded tend to be clearer (and, thus, slower) speakers. Partly, those lectures chosen seem like they must be the most acceptable to general audiences, and, thus, take more time to cover material. The worst experience I’ve had with this was trying to learn linear algebra (or was it multivariable calculus? the review of vectors took so long that they’d hardly diverged by the time I decided the time investment was not worth it) from MIT open courseware. The 6 hours I wasted on those lectures (2 weeks of class!) covered material that my 7 week single variable calculus course got through in 1 or 2 hours at the end of the half-semester. Since MIT can’t be that much easier than Harvey Mudd, I am forced to conclude that the problem must be with video lectures. This may be because video lectures seem less real, and thus hold my attention a lot less, but an hour of that course certainly felt a lot longer than an hour of an in-person lecture.

    On a somewhat related note, I can be a somewhat overwhelmingly fast talker (especially when caffeinated). But I’ve been trying to slow it down, in part because my father has a moderate hearing impairment compounded by our shared difficulties in filtering out background noise and has a lot of difficulty understanding me at my natural rate of speech. I’ve also been told by other people that my speech makes them uncomfortable, because they feel they have to catch up. If only they could have a (1/2)x button!

  7. CRL, That was funny!

  8. @ CRL
    My wife is a fast speaker, as I mentioned above, to which my desire for a .5x button for her comes into play from time to time. For the most part, I do not mind. In fact, I have come to enjoy it as we can cover a lot more ground in our conversations. However, I find myself coming to her aid, as others who are uncomfortable with her speed will often criticize her, requesting, ‘Will you, please, talk slower!’. In turn, I inform them that, ‘She will begin to talk slower, once you begin to listen faster.’ To those who complain of fast speakers and request they slow down; it is just the same to request of yourself to listen faster.

  9. CRL

    I feel as if the burden to adjust one’s rate of speech falls on the one that wants to be listened to. In general, I’d say that the person trying to be understood must be the one to adjust their communication. It has never worked for me the other way around, though this is perhaps because my natural style is unusual in non-tech-school places. I’m not going to take if for granted that people want to know what I am saying enough to force themselves to put effort into determining fast, slightly unusual (usually gets picked up as a European accent of some sort, though the countries guessed are all over the map) speech. Those that do have made it clear to me that my natural rate is fine, and others (esp. nonnative speakers) have repeatedly requested I slow down. It would be pretty silly not to honor either of these requests, and basically equivalent to saying that I do not care about other people.

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