Why Video and Audio Blogging Probably Aren’t the Next Big Thing

Ann Althouse writes:

One thing about written blogs is you can glance over them quickly and decide how much you want to read. These podcast recordings impose their time frame on you. A slow talker forces you to listen longer. A slow writer doesn’t cause you to read slowly.

This is exactly right and I think helps to explain why video blogging isn’t the boon some people think it should be. The reader controls his entire experience; the listener controls some of it; and the watcher of videos, if he is paying attention, is more controlled by the experience than in control (a fact not lost on propagandists, which may explain why the likes of Leni Riefenstahl and Michael Moore tend to produce movies rather than essays). As a blog reader, I want to read what I want, quickly — not watch TV.

Video has a place on blogs, especially in reporting about tsunamis and other events that are dramatic and not abstract. But to watch some guy talk? Nah.

UPDATE: Ann adds, among other comments:

I agree here too. And this point applies in many areas, even ones as far afield as gauges on machines, and voicemail systems. Canned-voice feedback and voice-response systems are usually poor substitutes for the written word, and even for buttons and visual signals.

(See here for an old rant on a related topic.)

6 thoughts on “Why Video and Audio Blogging Probably Aren’t the Next Big Thing”

  1. MSM keeps trying to put their video on to the web, ie a form of video blogging. A sign that they still don’t get it. Repackaging propaganda doesn’t change the fact that it’s still propaganda. Besides, who wants to see guys in their pajamas drone on. Their forte is ideas, not presentation.

  2. Well, and some of us are still slogging away with dialup. Needless to say, I have zero interest in video blogs, as I’m not only giving up my time to watch, but I’m giving up even more time just to load to fool thing.

  3. I’ve never watched a video blog but a podcast is just a radio show transmitted via the internet instead of the airwaves. The listener controls the experience just as much as a reader controls what he or she reads. I subscribe to a few podcasts and I routinely move past the parts I’m uninterested in, something I can’t do with a broadcast show. My biggest complaint with podcasts is that so many of them are boring, including some of the most popular shows. As the medium matures the losers will shake out and some real talent will show through, just as with weblogs. At my weblog, weblog.beautyandlogic.com, I’ve listed a few shows I like and listen to.

  4. Thanks Lloyds for the referral to my Rip & Read Blogger Podcast.

    I agree that there are a lot of boring podcasters. But don’t put them all in the same category quite yet. This is a very young medium, only a few months old. Some of us are finding ways to combine the best of blogging with audio from interesting sources like NPR and C-SPAN, with careful editing, to produce reasonably good material. I find interesting blog posts, read them, and include what people say on the topic on radio or TV as a way to improve on the bloggers. Give mine a listen if you get a minute. It’s a way to stay in touch with the blogosphere while you are driving to work or going for a walk.


  5. I like watching video clips that bloggers post of MSM moments. Also I watch C-SPAN on my computer sometimes. I don’t have a TV so this is my dose of TV.

    Other than that ….. you can listen to music while you read blogs.

  6. It’s pretty difficult to skim or search an audio/video broadcast.

    With a post, I can skim to see if it’s worth really reading, or with a dozen posts, I can do a text search for keywords I care about. But with audio, I can’t search it nearly as efficiently.

    There is some use for A/V blogging… but I doubt it’s the “next big thing”. Reading is still the fastest way to communicate accurately.

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