Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Video Blog Posts

I don't like video blog posts. These are becoming more and more common. I can see that from the perspective of the blogger it seems to be an easier way to communicate a complicated or complex idea, and this is true to a point. I have a few reason why I don't like this approach to blogging, some of these are just my preference and others are more practical.

The first issue that comes to mind is the overall poor production values of these posts. Many of these posts lack a coherent script. They suffer from poor lighting and filming techniques. It seems to be thought that you can just turn on a camera and that is all there is to making a useful and interesting video. It is just plain laziness on the part of the blogger. If you are going to make a useful video you need to write a script just as if you were writing a blog post. You should also give real thought to the visual is a video after all. Don't just ramble on in the dark with a shaky picture.

The next issue has to do with how I, personally, consume information. I tend to switch back and fourth from a linear style of reading to a more random access style. I will generally skim an article or blog post for things of interest and if something grabs my attention I will go back and read the entire post. I am not a quick reader so I like to know that my time investment will be worth it. Video blog posts are only a linear form of communication. You really can't scroll and skip around like you can with text. This means that you must devote your time to watching the video before you can decide if it is worth your time - a catch-22. Related to this is the fact that even though I am not a quick reader I am a quicker reader than most people can speak so what may take 3 min of video might only take 30 seconds to read.

Another problem is that of bandwidth and location. I like to check in on my favorite blogs at various times and places. Some of these access location are not conducive to audio or to high bandwidth traffic. This means that at times I just cannot access the info even if I think it is worthy. With the amount of new info out there I might not get back to these posts once I do get to a better access location.

Something that seems to be lost on the typical video blogger is the fact that information within the video, such as the dialog, are not available to Internet search engines which means that are harder to find. The author of the post must rely entirely on the name of the post/video as well as the keywords added to the post to drive search traffic. This is a very limiting approach. A text post with well named images will be found much more often and easier to search engines.

I know why these posts are popular with bloggers - they are easy. You just turn on the camera and start talking. Writing a blog post takes time and thought to make any sense, and even if you take the time it might still turn out to be a rambling mess (as evidenced by this very post). I am a slow typist and I also have a bit of a spelling issue, which is a bad combination. I understand how much work and rework goes into blogging. There is an appeal to anything that makes this easier. I feel that the video post ultimately does a disservice to your blog. I really hope this fad dies out.

Enough of this complaining, as you were.


TJ Atwell said...

I respect your opinion, but video is much harder than you let on. Because you are trying to manage a script, keep stuff in front of the camera AND keep your eye on the camera screen and the time, VBlogs can be very hard from a multi-tasking stand-point. I have just started to do video and my first one was a mess and I posted it with a long write-up for those folks who don't want to see a shaky video. I then did a short video tutorial for no other reason than to demonstrate how easy a simple conversion could be in real time.
Once again, the quality wasn't superb, but reach back to your first written blog peice ... was it pure quality? Or did you grow over time ... I certainly did and I am a journalist for the military by trade.
I will agree with you though about the use of time. You do have to watch a VBlog to decide whether or not it is worth your time and if it wasn't, then you have already wasted your time ... I now know that video belongs WITH print rather than instead and as I delve further into VBlogging, I will keep that consideration and I thank you for your post bringing this to the attention of one VBlogger - namely me!
Hopefully this message gets to some of the others!

Dogui said...

I agree with your thoughts on video blogs. And there's another thing to consider, though not many probably worry about. Foreign readers.

If you have a less than perfect level of English, it is usually a lot easier to read than to listen. You can get the idea from the whole phrase, or even use translators to help you. I know lots of people who can read perfectly but when it comes to audio, the speaker's accent, speed and pronunciation make it really hard to understand.

I have, however, enjoyed a few video battle reports (to give an example) and stuff like that, where the video tool is actually adding to it, rather than supplanting the written word.

Robert said...

Thanks for the comments! As a point of clarification, I am not 'totally' against video blog posts. I do think they have a place but they need to be better thought out and produced than we typically see. I love the idea of Old School Terminator about having and accompanying text post that explains the video. This would solve most of my complaints.