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Author name (Administrator) #1
Member since May 2011 · 2485 posts · Location: Brisbane
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Subject: Videos vs Text Webpages
You may have read an old rant of mine, Why I Hate YouTube, but if not you might be surprised to find I really don't like youtube.  In fact, I don't like any internet video, the stuff drives me crazy.  Recently over on Robert Scoble's blog he brought the topic up.  He's one of the 'blogging elite' (which I grant doesn't mean much) and he interviews interesting people with his video camera and posts them for all to see.  No doubt these people have interesting things to say.

But I'll never know.

I hate internet video, and the comments on the blog thread above tend to agree not only with my position, but my reasoning as well.  If I may:

toivo skirts around one issue.  Paraphrased: without adequate text, how do you know if the video's worth watching?  Sure, you know who's in it, but if I'm gonna watch a 7-minute video I want to know that the whole 7 mins is worth my time. 

I'm a voracious info junkie.  I want to stuff my brain full of interesting things, at high speed, all the time.  Video forces me to slow down, to inhale the info at a measured pace that was probably created for the lowest common denominator (if the pace was even considered by the creator, which is all too unlikely).

Aaron says "I rarely have several minutes of undivided attention to give over to a video. Text allows me to rapidly triage information..."  That's a key issue for me.  I don't read a massive block of text unless it's fascinating.  I skim, I glance, I flick.  I can't do that with video, there's no overview.

Scott says Watching a video takes more effort [...] because I have to physically stop and concentrate on the content–taking time out from other activities..."  I don't do one thing at a time.  I do five.  Watching a video means I have to stop reading, stop paying attention to chats, and stop listening to music.  It means I have to assault everyone else in my space (the office, the living room) with the video's audio, and if the video turns out to suck?  Everyone thinks I'm watching stupid shit, when I simply could not know in advance what I was about to view.

Video is rude, it's the pop-up ad of the 'blogosphere', it forces me to devote my time to something that, more often than not, turns out to be complete shit.
This post was edited on 2009-01-14, 09:32 by NFG.
Author name #2
Member since Oct 2007 · 316 posts
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On one hand, video has a lower threshold of difficulty with regards to content entry. Not everyone can compose text that is concise, informative, and persuasive all at the same time. However, anybody can produce a recording that is colloquial and conversational, and that arguably has the same effect. Also, video makes that equivalent content available to viewers that may not be as literate or as educated. Video on the world wide web increases diversity, both in the people who have something to say and the people who may need to hear those things.

On the other hand, video has a lower threshold of difficulty with regards to content entry. That means that any yahoo with a webcam and a desk lamp can show you his fish-shaped necktie (and with it an accidental view of the fluids stored in pump dispensers on his nightstand.) Colloquial and conversational language stored as a medium of record, without peer review or editing, distorts language and adds ambiguity to what is supposed to be informative and persuasive. Also, less literate and less educated people will tend to prefer video content, which gives an undeserved weighting to that information when compared to other media that requires more conscious thought and processing. Video on the world wide web had the potential to be egalitarian, but instead lowers the value of all web media by sheer volume. Video as a dominant format in a text-based medium cheapens the medium.

My blog has no video. Images are linked but not displayed at the top level. And I try to keep each post under two paragraphs, on the reasoning that if it takes longer than that to say it isn't worth saying.
Author name (Administrator) #3
Member since May 2011 · 2485 posts · Location: Brisbane
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You're right that making video is easier than writing, but I'd have to say that you're wrong to suggest anyone can produce a video that is colloquial and conversational.  This simple skill is, in fact, beyond far too many people.

Your second paragraph rings true far more than your first, IMO.

And while I'm evaluating paragraphs, I appreciate the irony of a third paragraph detailing how only two paragraphs are needed to convey important information.  =)
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