Lately I've been thinking about the following question; if I'm a visual learner, why do I have trouble with video? In the past month or so I've run into a lot more video on blogs. I'm not referring to people embedding YouTube videos or TED Talks. More and more people are including video entries and comments. Though I'm a visual learner, I'm finding that for a lot of content I'd rather text over video.
Here are some of the different uses of video I've seen on blogs (sans TED Talks and other formal presentations).
1. Video Comments: Not so long ago, Dean Shareski posted on Riffly, which allows people to leave video comments on your blog. It was neat to see and hear the people commenting, especially when they were people I've been reading on a regular basis. However, a number of commenters noted the downsides of video comments. In reply to Dean's post Sue Waters said, "it takes longer for you to take in the information from the spoken text because you can scan read with text" and Clay Burrel offered, "I’d rather have auto-transcription of voice-recognized audio. Who wants to have to watch a whole video comment to discover it wasn’t worth seeing? Or at least give us the fast-forward option."
Dean Shareski replied with, "I wonder if people had difficulty with the telephone when it was first introduced? Along with the cost, were there similar issues we now face with talking heads?" and later, "I wonder if many miscommunications I’ve seen on blog posts could have been cleared up had they used video." Dean's last point really resonates with me. I'm often putting in smiley faces to temper what I've written so that it doesn't come across as being too harsh. Others have 'LOL'-itis, presumabley for the same reason.
2. Video Posts: In March Stephen Downes did a follow-up post in video format (approx 16 minutes long) on his views on homeschooling. Some of Downes' views on homeschooling are seen as quite controversial. However, a number of the comments on this post mentioned the difficulties with the video format. For example, part of Jeremy Hiebert's response to the video was, "A spirited, reasoned response. I'll have to stew on it for a while, and maybe watch again before going too deep on a response. If you have your notes in digital form, would you mind posting them here as well? I think it's harder for me to follow and process the sequential nature of video." And from Dana Hanley, "Anyway, I'll respond in more depth tonight. Responding to video is a little more difficult.."
Charles Nelson posted a reply to Downes, and over half of what he wrote was about Downes' use of video: "his [Stephen Downes'] video made it clear to me that when using tools, we need to consider what they have to offer, how they can add to our message, and what we lose when using them." Nelson goes on to provide a good analysis of why he thought Downes' post failed and ends with, "This time requirement of viewing and understanding videos means that if they are to be used, they need to offer something that cannot be obtained in print only...". I highly recommend that if you are interested in the use and mis-use of video that you check out Nelson's full post here.
Of course there are others, like Gary Vaynerchuk who do video posts like this and this. I think that Vaynerchuk's video posts are successful in part because they are usually fairly brief (under 2 minutes) and have a single focus. Plus, he is so wired that it makes his message that much more intense.
3. Meet the Blogger: These are short video clips that bloggers post to build a rapport with their readers. An example of this is in Sarah Stewart's blog. She recently experimented with video and I felt like I got to know her a bit better seeing and hearing her. The key here is to keep the clip short. Which brings up another point; I'm a big fan of video skins (if that is the right term), that let you know how long a video is. Sometimes I don't have the time to watch a 15 minute video clip, so it is nice to know before I press play.
Perhaps in the future there will be ways of viewing videos that will allow us to easily scan and move backward and forward through the information. Or video coupled with text transcripts allowing you to scan the text and select the video when you find the part in which you are interested. Until that time, I'm going to have to really assess how I use video and how I ask my students to use video.
Having said all this, below is a brief (12 second) video hello from me. My goal; to create rapport with my readers and further establish my on-line identity. And no, my son never sits still ;-) A big thanks to Sue Waters and The Edublogger on info regarding embedding video on your blog! As a result I was able to modify the YouTube embed so that it did not include related videos, some of which were inappropriate.
What do you think about the use of video in blogs? Do you have some examples of successful video posts or comments? Or video formats that allow you scan, easily move back and forth, and/or bookmark video segments?Image: Fatty Watching Himself on TV by cloudzilla on Flickr. Creative Commons by attribution.