Wise words from my friend Alec Saunders, the CEO of Ottawa-based “presence-based” software company iotum, who writes on his blog about why he doesn’t do video clips or do a “vlog” as the kids say. Apparently vlogger Dina Kaplan of oneminutenews.tv talked Andy Abramson into doing a video post, but Alec says he has no intentions of following suit. Is it because he doesn’t think he’s attractive enough for video? No (although that’s probably one reason I haven’t done one — some people have a face for print, if you know what I mean).
Among other things, Alec says he doesn’t find video a very good way of getting information across, which is why he doesn’t follow many vlogs — and I would agree. Video is very good for some things, but getting across concepts or information is not one of them, unless you have a whole pile of time and some really compelling speakers who are properly trained and edited. What video is good for is entertainment (obviously) and also for giving you a sense of someone as a person rather than as a writer. A minute of watching Andy can give you a whole different impression than you get just reading his blog, and that is arguably worthwhile too.
None of this is meant to take away from the great stuff that is done by Rocketboom or my friend Amber MacArthur or any of the other talented video journalists and vloggers out there. I am not one of those high priests of print who thinks all video is trash. I just think it’s good for some things and not for others. Alec also makes another interesting point, which is that whatever information is in a video clip can’t be indexed easily or searched or referred to easily (although Google and others are working hard on that). I think that’s an important thing.
Although I have to admit it would be kind of fun to see a vlog-cast with Jeff Pulver and Alec and Andy all doing the Hawaaian shirt thing :-)
Jeff — who is moving from emphasizing Voice on Net (which he pioneered) to Video on Net — has posted some thoughts about his use of video, and Mark Evans has a response here. Dina Kaplan has also posted a comment on Alec’s blog, which he has broken out as a separate post. Pulver blogger Paul Kapustka also has some points that are worth reading. And now the Scobleizer has weighed in — but of course, podcasting and v-logging is his game now :-) And Ben Metcalfe, who seems like a smart guy, makes a similar point to Alec’s, which is that video has to be consumed in a manner and at a speed dictated by the producer, whereas text can be randomized and indexed to a far greater extent. I would also join in my friend Rob Hyndman’s plea not to turn blogging into TV. However, Andrew Baron of Rocketboom notes that video-blogs are making their way into the top ranks of the blogosphere (at least as measured by Technorati) at an increasing rate.