November 15, 2016 —
Millennials are visual creatures. We probably process as much video as we do text. We take in so much footage because it quickly shows what we need to know and also feeds into our craving for connectedness; as a result, it has changed our expectations for web content.
You know how a picture is worth a thousand words? Videos are worth millions. Social media is a multimedia jackpot, where online video is taking over our newsfeeds (and becoming our news) on sites such as Facebook and Twitter. The multimedia layouts from these companies are especially attractive to Millennials because all of the content is accessible on the newsfeed, as opposed to being redirected, and so the video can play automatically. All of that video streaming on one page, plus the TV streaming we’re already obsessed with is a surefire recipe for data demand.
Service providers continuously try to keep up with the data-gobbling video that’s crowding our online surfing. The prized “unlimited plan” has been in the news recently, after we learned that T-Mobile limits data speeds once customers hit a certain number. AT&T also made changes that limits video quality by default in an effort to save data, though customers can turn this option off.
T-Mobile has a similar method of limiting video quality. The reality is that web pages are bigger, badder, and full of streaming content. The spread of Wi-Fi can possibly counteract this but in the end, Millennials want streaming capability anywhere they can get it. And they really don’t want any of their video content to buffer (*shudder*). To keep this generation on a cellular network, extra attention has to be paid to supporting video content. We’ll only consume more of it from here.
So if the wireless carriers don’t want to give us the bandwidth they claim, at least they should be honest about it so we can make choices and not have to live with less than we pay for.