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Remixing the routes

The Paralysed Customer by Barry Schwartz – video keywords on YouTube vs. on TED Talks

Posted by annplugged on May 8, 2007

Having too many choices has a paralysing effect on decision making, according to Barry Schwartz. This is his talk at the Technology, Entertainment and Design conference, or TED Talks, he gave in 2005 (to see a modified, fresher version check out what Barry Schwartz said at Google Talks in the Googleplex), which is available on both the official TED site, and on YouTube, Google’s video sharing social networking site:

Now let’s see the texts accompanying the video recordings.

This is the description on the ted.com site:

Psychologist Barry Schwartz takes aim at a central belief of western societies: that freedom of choice leads to personal happiness. In Schwartz’s estimation, all that choice is making us miserable. We set unreasonably high expectations, question our choices before we even make them, and blame our failures entirely on ourselves. His relatable examples, from consumer products (jeans, TVs, salad dressings) to lifestyle choices (where to live, what job to take, whom and when to marry), underscore this central point: Too many choices undermine happiness.

Compare the searchability (and also the content) of the video by search engines of the following accompanying text on youtube (submitted by the TEDtalksDirector user in the Director status):

Barry Schwartz is a sociology professor at Swarthmore College and author of The Paradox of Choice. In this talk, he persuasively explains how and why the abundance of choice in modern society is actually making us miserable. (Recorded July 2005 in Oxford, UK. Duration: 20:22

Register on Technology Entertainment and DesignIt is obvious that the text accompanying the same videofilm of Barry Schwartz’s keynote talk on the TED site, in contrast to to the one on the YouTube site, is a lot more descriptive, and also richer in the more important keywords. No wonder, search spiders – eating keywords – can find its text easier, so users can reach it more conveniently. ‘Now what?’ you may think. Why is it a problem? The problem is that YouTube is commentable, interactive, place for a community whereas TED Talks on the official site is _now already_ commentable, not (yet) part of a community (right now building), no chance to send video responses etc.

It is well worth exploiting more media channels for the same video film, but there needs to be a greater care for the wording and structure of accompanying texts to improve video search. YouTube would have allowed more characters in the description, and more tags too.

ps: Professor Barry Schwartz is mentioned as a psychologist on many sites, or sociologist on other web pages. Only two choices, yet confusing… Is he both?

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2 Responses to “The Paralysed Customer by Barry Schwartz – video keywords on YouTube vs. on TED Talks”

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