The Internet allows us to share information more freely than ever before. But along with that come two somewhat disturbing trends we've recently picked up on.
The first is that people are increasingly posting things linklessly. In other words, someone will assemble a Tumblr wall of photos of awesome things, but there is no link back to where those things came from, what they are or who made them. Merely showing a photo of a beautiful chair is apparently enough for the poster, with no opportunities to further your understanding of it. But I want to know who designed the chair and where I can learn more about it.
The second involves the rash of "How It's Made" videos that seems to increase every week. While we love seeing these, and feel funny complaining about something some shooter has obviously toiled to produce and has provided for free worldwide viewing, it bugs us that these videos increasingly lack any narrative that explains the processes we're seeing and therefore doesn't really deepen our comprehension of the subject. Given a choice between no-explanations-given videos and no videos at all, obviously we'd always choose the former (and would post them rather than you not seeing them at all), but we can't help but feel there's a real opportunity for learning here that is only being half-addressed.
As a good example of this, take a gander at this Encylopaedia Brittanica Films short from 1947 showing how books were made. We posted about it last year commenting on how many people the process involved. (Footage starts at 0:25.)
Now look at this short, currently making the blog rounds, commissioned by the UK's Daily Telegraph showing how handmade books are produced today:
After seeing the first video, you come away with a good understanding of what went into producing a book in that era. It compresses the actions of peoples' lifelong careers into an easily-digestible ten minutes.
It's true that the latter video is far shorter at two minutes, but wouldn't it at least benefit from some on-screen titles naming the processes, or a few frames at the end explaining how long it took? Lastly, we have to ask you, the readers: Are we the only ones noticing this, is the lack of explanation a generational thing, and are we the only ones this drives crazy?