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 :-)

Update:

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.

About the author

Mathew 2415 posts

I'm a Toronto-based former senior writer with Gigaom and my favorite things to write about are social technology, media and the evolution of online behavior

35 Responses to “Video-blogging isn’t for everyone”
  1. + Discussion: BizPodcasting, Smalltalk Tidbits …, Dembot, Mathew Ingram, Steve Newson DOT net and Alec Saunders .LOG

  2. 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 … Source: Mathew Ingram: mathewingram.com/work Author: Mathew Ingram Link: http://www.mathewingram.com/work/2006/09/15/video… Techmeme permalink

  3. Akimbo to bring Blip videocasts to a television near you, but anything that gets people into zones where they’re not quite comfortable is a good thing. I’ve read a few responses from people who have declined Blip’s challenge such as Alec Saunders and Matthew Ingram and I thought I’d jump on the bandwagon and throw in my two-cents worth why I don’t videocast. I’ve dabbled in videocasting on a few occasions and here’s the problem with it folks: it’s a lot of work

  4. challenge she presented to us during the Blogging panel at Fall 2006 VON: “Do a Video Blog.” I thought the challenge was simple enough; why not produce a video blog? To date, both Alec Saunders and Andy Abramson have answered the question and Matthew Ingram has shared his thoughts. This all said, one thing that was never discussed was the answer to the question “what exactly constitutes a Video Blog?” I first started exploring the realities of creating, producing and hosting a video blog about a year

  5. Blip.TV’s Dina Kaplan apparently challenged several bloggers to create video blogs. Some such as Andy Abramson did it, others such as Alec Saunders did not – and he explains why here. (Mathew Ingram also provides his non-video position). So why haven’t I done a video blog? One is the time and effort to do a properly produced, quality video blog strikes me as more intense than a blog entry or a podcast. Two, I’m just beginning to get the hang of podcasting so I need to run digitally

  6. 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 Ambramson …… Link Permalink | Email It | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

  7. Also, for some interesting takes on video blogging check out Robert Scoble’s To videoblog or not to videoblog post, Drew’s Technorati Top 100 Invaded by Videobloggers, Jon Watson’s OK, I’ll Play: Why I Don’t Videocast, or Mathew Ingram’s Video-blogging isn’t for everyone. Along these lines, I’m eager to hear what everyone thought about yesterday’s video/demo. I am completely open to suggestions. Let me know… Jonathan Bailor[IMG]

  8. posted a snippet to my vlog from the original panel discussion at VON that began this question of whether bloggers should begin videoblogging. And it’s been fun to watch everyone from Alec Saunders to Luca Filigheddu to Andy Abramson to Jeff Pulver to Mathew Ingram to Jonny Goldstein, Paul Kapustka, Ken Camp, Robert Scoble and Brad Templeton contribute to the debate.

  9. from the original panel discussion at VON that began this question of whether bloggers should begin videoblogging. And it’s been fun to watch everyone from Alec Saunders to Luca Filigheddu to Andy Abramson to Jeff Pulver to Mathew Ingram to Jonny Goldstein, Paul Kapustka, Ken Camp, Robert Scoble and Brad Templeton contribute to the debate.

  10. Technobabes dine out and speculate about their favorite blog opera Results of Ubuntu Linux desktop tests in the VCS The Hype vs. Reality vs. What People Value: Emerging Collaborative News Models and the Future of News East of England FOSS in the VCS Video-blogging isn’t for everyone Non-profit collaboration tools | COMMUNITY BANDWIDTH The Boston Technobabes dine out and speculate about their favorite blog opera PIP_Web_2.0.pdf (application/pdf Object)

  11. blogging for exactly six months now, and let me tell you, there is nothing more satisfying than documenting, in words and pictures, the minutiae of your life and having millions and millions of people ignore it on a daily basis.” Mathew Ingram has a post

  12. I have a voice for print which is why I never got into the podcasting thing. I come from a part of the world where inhabitants are called Geordie’s and we sound like this:

    http://www.bobjude.co.uk/bobjude/geordie/geordie.htm

    Things won’t improve with vlogging :)

  13. I feel your pain, Steve. If you ever did do a video blog, of course, I would be able to use this: http://www.geordie.org.uk/

  14. To Vlog or Not to Vlog…

    Blip.TV’s Dina Kaplan apparently challenged several bloggers to create video blogs. Some such as Andy Abramson did it, others such as Alec Saunders did not – and he explains why here. (Mathew Ingram also provides his non-video position). So why haven…

  15. […] Now it seems Alec and Mathew are bantering about the pros and cons. […]

  16. […] Jeff Pulver wrote about the debate a few minutes ago, and Mathew Ingram and others are piping in as well. […]

  17. If you didn’t know how to use a keyboard or a pencil or you had never learnt how to read and write, you would find that the written word didn’t work for you. You would show people some random scribbles and, when they failed to communicate your ideas, you might give up. On the other hand you might set about learning how to communicate effectively using words.

    Video-making is also a language. One that, unlike the written word, most of us are never taught. Watching films and TV is not a way to learn video-making any more than having someone read stories to you is a way of learning to read and write yourself.

    What we seeing are video blogs made by people who know little about the ‘language’ of video. And, surprise, they aren’t very effective.

  18. You are quite right, Gary. Some people are more comfortable with the visual than they are with writing, and they both take a lot of effort and practice in order to do them well.

  19. […] 3) Mathew Ingram and Alec Saunders say “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.” FALSE AND TRUE. False because there are some things that just require video. Here’s a test. Give me one minute of video or 10,000 words to explain to me what Halo 3 does. The video will beat the text every single time, even if you have a Pulitzer-prize winning author write the words. True because words are far easier to skim, far easier to search, far easier to store, far easier to upload, and generally have more information imparted per minute spent consuming than video does. […]

  20. Video is good for opinion and entertainment so it has its place if that is your goal. the writtenn word is better in the explain for explaining things and continued conversations

  21. Videoblogging probably isn’t for me……

    There is much communication that lends itself to using the written word, in some circumstances audio might be better and sometimes there is just no substitute for video….

  22. Why videoblog? A question to bloggers….

    I found an interesting post on blip.tv’s blog from Dina Kaplan. (btw, hope the party was a blast blippers, sorry I couldn’t make it).  This from Dina:

    During the blogging panel at Jeff Pulver’s VON this week, I asked: why not vi…

  23. […] 3) Mathew Ingram and Alec Saunders say “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.” FALSE AND TRUE. False because there are some things that just require video. Here’s a test. Give me one minute of video or 10,000 words to explain to me what Halo 3 does. The video will beat the text every single time, even if you have a Pulitzer-prize winning author write the words. True because words are far easier to skim, far easier to search, far easier to store, far easier to upload, and generally have more information imparted per minute spent consuming than video does. […]

  24. […] 3) Mathew Ingram and Alec Saunders say “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.” FALSE AND TRUE. False because there are some things that just require video. Here’s a test. Give me one minute of video or 10,000 words to explain to me what Halo 3 does. The video will beat the text every single time, even if you have a Pulitzer-prize winning author write the words. True because words are far easier to skim, far easier to search, far easier to store, far easier to upload, and generally have more information imparted per minute spent consuming than video does. […]

  25. […] And it’s been fun to watch everyone from Alec Saunders to Luca Filigheddu to Andy Abramson to Jeff Pulver to Mathew Ingram to Jonny Goldstein, Paul Kapustka, Ken Camp, Robert Scoble and Brad Templeton contribute to the debate. 17th Sep | […]

  26. […] I watched the discussion about the validity of vlogging over the weekend, via Mathew Ingram and many others, with great interest. I have told a couple of people about the idea I had which I will be working on under the name of Table Vs Jetski, one of whom was a mate of mine who currently works in Sydney consulting for phone carriers and other publishers of video content to mobile phones. His job, as he explained it to me, is mostly in convincing media companies who have reams of full-motion video content to not just shovel the entirety of their archives onto mobile networks, because it’s not going to work without tailoring the video content to the medium. You can’t just push the packaged soccer highlights from a TV soccer highlights show to a phone, for example, because TV soccer highlights are usually filled with long shots of the entire field showing positional play, something which comes out on a mobile phone as a big green blob with indeterminate white pixels pinging around without context. Slow-motion replays, however, work far better on mobile screens, so to get truly compelling video content to mobiles requires a different approach to editing and shot selection.When I explained my idea to this mate of mine, he understood it immediately. The discussion about the merits of vlogging vs podcasting vs blogging also highlighted reasons in my own mind as to why my idea will succeed. There does need to be a medium in between podcasting and vlogging, to take advantage of humans’ reliance on visual stimuli, but simultaneously taking the pressure off the creators of the content to develop highly polished production values. Blogger and WordPress allowed bloggers to concentrate on the content, and a number of podcasting startups have had varying success in making the process of recording and publicising podcasts streamlined to enable non-geeks to enter the field. Similarly, what I’m trying to assemble is a system where a happy medium between podcasting and vlogging can be achieved in an open architecture that is highly decentralised… but may also be the key to enabling easy monetisation.I’m not quite ready to release the concept into the wild just yet, but it’s close. […]

  27. […] Mathew Ingram and Alec Saunders recently discussed the pitfalls of vlogging in their blogs. I have to agree, not every blog needs or should even have a video element. […]

  28. […] It seems that everyone (Alec, Andy, Jeff, Ken, Mathew, Marc, and others) in the blogsphere is wondering wether to videoblog or not. This discussion started from a specific invitation by Dina Kaplan from Blip.tv, who challenged many bloggers to start a videoblog.I’ll be very clear: to me, videoblog is useless. Hey, don’t get me wrong, I like watching at user-produced videos on the internet, but videoblogging is pretty different. It would be useful if it would add more information to the whole story, but it doesn’t. When you read a blog post,, it takes time to get the whole story, but 99% it worths the time you spend.If you listen to a podcast telling the same story, it takes less time and sometimes you can catch more details than reading the written version. But, if you watch at a videoblog post, what more do you get ? Taking Andy’s videoblog as an instance, what more have I got ? I just had the opportunity to see Andy’s face, tired after a long working day at VON, together with his bed’s pillows behind him. Hey, very nice! :-) But, a podcast would have been good as well. Or, in this case, since the “information” was very simple, I would have got it by just reading a few lines of a “normal” blog post.To be honest, I would say that it depends from the topics you cover. A video would be useful to show in detail how a new gadget works, for instance. But in the VoIP world, you usually tell stories and comment news, you offer your view to your readers, and almost always video doesn’t really add more information. Text plus photos is enough, to me.What do you think ?Technorati Tags: alec saunders, andy abramson, jeff pulver, ken camp, luca filigheddu, mathew ingram, marc evans, videoblog […]

  29. […] 3) Mathew Ingram and Alec Saunders say “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.” FALSE AND TRUE. False because there are some things that just require video. Here’s a test. Give me one minute of video or 10,000 words to explain to me what Halo 3 does. The video will beat the text every single time, even if you have a Pulitzer-prize winning author write the words. True because words are far easier to skim, far easier to search, far easier to store, far easier to upload, and generally have more information imparted per minute spent consuming than video does. […]

  30. […] Brad Templeton, Dina Kaplan, Alec Saunders, Luca Filigheddu, Jeff Pulver, Mathew Ingram, Paul Kapustka, Robert Scoble and Rob Hyndman among others. […]

  31. […] 3) Mathew Ingram and Alec Saunders say “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.” FALSE AND TRUE. False because there are some things that just require video. Here’s a test. Give me one minute of video or 10,000 words to explain to me what Halo 3 does. The video will beat the text every single time, even if you have a Pulitzer-prize winning author write the words. True because words are far easier to skim, far easier to search, far easier to store, far easier to upload, and generally have more information imparted per minute spent consuming than video does. […]

  32. […] I’ve said before on several occasions, I’m not really a video guy. I don’t think it adds that much to have video, unless (as […]

  33. very nice info thank you

  34. I've always preferred plain writing, to be honest.

Comments are closed.