With text-led interpretations, captions and better access to opportunities, Reels are helping make communication inclusive on Instagram. Here’s how…
Scroll after scroll, one can go on consuming Reels for hours, their eyes unblinking. A lot can be unpacked if one were to look closely into those 15-second gems. There is an audio clip, which is simultaneously being used by thousands of creators, each contributing their unique sets of creative talents to create and further a trend. They are all a part of something bigger and global, an aspect that is pushing the way forward for inclusive communication via Reels.
Instagram has an option of automatic captioning that creators can use to make their content inclusive for those who are hearing impaired. However, there is another side of inclusive communication on Reels, one that is well-integrated into the very fabric of what it means to be a creator on the platform.
A lot of Reels (and Stories) today have words written on them. These could be the lyrics of a song or a subtitle or a headline of sorts to help people better understand the context of the communication being put forth. These features facilitate global networks of creators and fans where people are able to follow each other’s craft without even understanding the language they are communicating in — as long as they understand English (at the moment).
The audio-visual nature of Reels itself is one that is expanding the scope of inclusive communication on the platform. You don’t have to have great writing or editing skills. All you need is the confidence to face the camera and a basic understanding of the edit features available on the platform. A lot is communicated via gestures and facial expressions — adding to the universal appeal of these videos.
This is also why TikTok was wildly successful in the country before it got banned. Short video content is helping people with fewer or limited resources to turn into creators and find new avenues to make a livelihood.
Given how Instagram is pushing Reels (with a centre button for accessibility and visibility via Recommendations and Explore), small businesses are also benefitting by leveraging the interface. They get an opportunity to participate in trends being led by global leaders in the domain and expand their potential consumer base. Beyond entertainment, people get to feel a sense of familiarity with a brand they hadn’t heard of before. A new brand thus gets a leg up.
Another way brands are benefitting from Reels is how they are able to seep into the content distribution and consumption channels without standing out (when done right) as businesses trying to advertise their products. They are able to share sentiments and behind-the-scenes, reeling in audiences and creating a stronger community.
While inclusive communication is a lot about making communication accessible to those who may not be able to experience the content in the same way as others, one must not forget the power of access to opportunities as a means to inclusivity. Clubbed with the inherent inclusive powers of video and the creative intent of creators, Reels are giving people a space to express, be, promote and conduct commerce with ease and with all.