“Video posts are lazy.”
There it was, and it hung in the air for a moment after he said it. It was actually the third of three points a friend of mine made about video posts in a discussion about blogs:
- Not everyone has access to sound or can watch videos conveniently where they generally are when they read blogs.
- It’s hard on bandwidth for some, again depending on where they generally read blogs.
- It seems lazy.
Often you only hear/read people touting how awesome video blogs are and that text posts are dead. “Video is better for SEO anyway!” they’ll say.
His statement struck me at first, but as it sank in for a moment I found that I agreed.
Why Video Posts Are Different, But Not Inherently Better
I could read a quick post, but I can’t watch a video right now. I’ve actually been sent videos and such by friends while at work that I couldn’t watch. For me, contrary to what some tout as an advantage of video, I can generally get to the point faster on textual blogs because I’m reading at my pace. If it’s a video, I’m stuck at their pace, and if I’m busy I may not have time for the diversion.
You may be able to create skimmable content with good header tags, but it’s not clear on a video progress bar where the “good parts” are.
Bandwidth is indeed a concern if you’re in coffee shops and such with free wi-fi a lot, as you’re sharing connection with a lot of others and they generally don’t have a super fast connection to begin with. It’s one thing to load your favorite blog when it’s text and a a few graphics, and once it’s loaded you’re done. Videos chew up much more bandwidth, and do so continuously, and you may find your immersion broken if the video has to keep stopping to buffer.
While it is a nice change of pace for bloggers to throw in the occasional video post, I can agree that from a technical standpoint relying on that too much can look lazy. “But I put a lot of effort into making that video! Sound effects, screen transitions, etc.!”
Almost every video post I’ve ever seen — by bloggers who write excellent articles — has meandered a bit and feels off-the-cuff. Again, that’s great once in awhile to be less formal and mix it up a bit. When it becomes consistent, however, and is not rehearsed, it can start to feel lazy because it lacks the polish and organization that person may ordinarily put into a regular blog post. You may have invested some time in making the video pretty, but did you invest in what you were saying to the same degree?
Would you watch a webinar where the presenter seemed to be thinking of what to say as he or she went along? I doubt it.
What are your thoughts? Are video posts a more convenient, easy to digest way to get information or does it become a long-winded way of saying what could’ve been said better with text and graphics?
I think you nailed the key point with the speed difference. I feel that text interspersed with appropriate images as appropriate can be more quickly understood than a video. Even if your content isn’t skimmable at all I guarantee that I can read everything faster than I can watch a video. The ability to skim makes the difference even faster.
I find videos to be a much larger time investment and generally a much more linear experience. If I’m reading text and having trouble understanding something I can go back a ways to read some key part that I missed and get right back to reading the article from my normal place. Doing this in video isn’t easy at all.
I think the only thing I disagree with is the comment on it being lazy. I don’t think that’s a general rule but it certainly can affect some presenters. Typically it probably has more to do with inexperience than laziness.
Fair enough. Although you could argue that continuously doing something in a public presence that demonstrates your inexperience is lazy, as you’re expecting not to have to put as much into it as other videographers or bloggers but want the same result. If you’re a serious blogger, it would stand to reason you’d not want to dilute your blog with weaker content in the attempt to jump on the video bandwagon. Not taking the time to do it well may not be lazy per se, but neither is it doing one’s blog justice, big picture.
Also my point about presenters wasn’t that I feel video presentations are usually lazy, as most webinars I’ve attended have felt very organized. But since we can probably all agree that we’d never watch a webinar that disorganized, why should we put up with the various video blog posts that seem half-assed?