To Video, or no?

I have been wondering about the preponderence of video, in place of the written word. Today, I was taking a break at work and went to a blog I follow, and was happy to find that today, the blogger was discussing something I’d been wondering about for a long time. I read it eagerly, looking for the answer…

Only to find that the remainder of the blog – and the answer to the question – was in a video.

Well, poo. I would have to wait until I got home to find out.* Because I was at work, and without headphones to plug into my computer. I supposed I could have pulled it up on my phone (which I was listening to with Bluetooth headphones), but…

Nah. Too much trouble. And takes too long.

I am not fond of videos as a rule. Maybe this comes from the fact that I hardly ever watch TV. But that’s mostly because I don’t have time. But lately, several blogs I follow have posted a video instead of a written blog post – or at least, the “meat” of the post is in a video. And I find this unfortunate. Because at work, my usual choice is to just skip it. Even if I have headphones with me. If I’m working at my client’s location, even that isn’t an option – blogs are blocked. I read them on my phone, and while YouTube works fine on it, it’s slow (in addition to the time to watch the video). If the video is from Vimeo,  that’s a total non-starter – Vimeo doesn’t work on my phone at all.

The thing is, I can read fast. But a video is the speed it is. I can’t watch it any faster than it will play, nor can I easily skim ahead to the part I want to see. With written material, I can read quickly (my usual MO), or just skim to the parts that interest me.

That’s probably why I’m not a fan of audio books either – you can’t skip the boring parts. Of course, we all try not to put those boring parts into our books in the first place. But invariably, some make it in – to any book. Of course, if enough people were interested in an audio version of my books – I’d certainly look into it! But would probably only listen to them once myself.

Even Holly Lisle uses video in some of her fantastic online fiction workshops. I watch those, but knowing I have a 20 minute video to sit through, even if it’s interesting, good stuff, makes it that much harder to get to it in the first place.

People email me videos from time to time, and of course, there are plenty of Facebook shares. I like them if they’re really, really funny, but otherwise I skip them. With dozens of emails a day and writing to do, who has time?

Several industry pundits have hypothesized that ebooks will move to an “enhanced” form, where text will be supplemented with video. If these are an alternative offering to a text, or text and picture only format, great – some people probably love them. But I sure hope they don’t replace text-only ebooks. I read because I want to read. Not to mention, a good, professional video takes some doing to produce, even a decent DIY job, and they’d undoubtedly raise the price of the book.

I get it that sometimes, something just can’t be as easily explained with text and pictures, and if it’s something I’m trying to learn, I’ll watch a video. Or if it’s really, really funny. Otherwise, please write!

* I emailed the one blog to myself through Google Reader, and watched it when I got home from work. But usually I don’t remember to do this.

In the interest of presenting both sides, here a couple videos that are so freakin’ funny I can watch them over and over. I don’t think either of these would be at all effective in text and still photos.

Cat Yodeling, anyone? LOL!

I don’t know why, but I LMAO every time I see this one:

So tell me, am I the only one who’d usually rather read than watch? Do you like audio books? What do you think the concept of enhanced ebooks – is this something you’re looking forward to, or is it pretty much a “meh” thing, like it is for me?

Photo via Microsoft Office Images

18 Responses to \

  1. I just realized I always check the time on the video–if it’s less than a minute I will usually watch it. Like you I would rather read, but it’s probably the sign of the times or something. My son watches Youtube videos regularly–lots of them. 🙂

  2. I started putting more images and videos into my posts when I thought about the visual people out there. I think some are more likely to visit if there is at least a mixture. That said, I think all of my posts can be read without watching any of the video. As for vlogging, I’m not ready to see myself that up close and personal for so long. Yikes!

    I’m a word girl. So I’m always happy to read.

  3. I’m so glad you wrote this post, Jennette, and explained how hard it is to watch videos from your phone. Since I have an old cell that I don’t do internet on, I’m clueless about how it works for you folks. And your other reasons for not being drawn to videos makes sense. My newest hobby is playing around with iMovie and making some videos for YouTube. I’ve put a few vlogs and videos on my blog, and I noticed not too many people watch them. I’m still going to do them occasionally because I love it. Kristen Lamb’s vlogs are great! Have you seen them? Her personality comes across even better in her vlogs than in text (which is always packed with great humor that I enjoy). So just like everything else, some people like it and others don’t. I do know that the shorter, the better, unless it’s specifically a teaching video.

    Those two videos you posted are pretty funny. My grandbaby (6 months) watched the cat yodeling one with me! Fun!

  4. When it comes to a place where I am going for information (news, educational, information) I really don’t care for vlogs. I’m (admittedly) hypercritical of how people present information, after getting paid to do it for years, and have a short attention span for it.

    If you want to inform me, let me read. Unless you are writing up something that is a step by step how to, like DIY projects, or cooking(and then, give me the written AND the video), stick to the written word.

    If I am looking to be entertained, then it is a different story. 🙂

  5. Coleen, it could be a generational thing – my daughter watches a lot of videos, too. She’s the one who turned me to “The Engineer’s Guide to Cats” ones. Although she watches fewer now than she did a few years ago. So maybe an age thing too? Good point about checking the time – I didn’t even think about that, but I do that, too. If it’s more than a minute long, it needs to be reeeeeaaaalllly funny!

    Julie, you bring up a good point too, which I touched on about enhanced ebooks. IMO, if the book/post can be enjoyed/informing, and the video’s more like an extra, that’s ideal. I’m in no hurry to vlog either. I don’t have the greatest speaking voice, and I’m not good at speaking off the cuff at all, which is where videos would be good.

    Lynn, thanks for reading! I never thought about mobile users either until I got a smartphone. I need to put up a simpler mobile theme for my blog; just haven’t gotten around to it yet. It works on a phone, but is a little slow to load. I skipped Kristen’s vlogs because I was at work and didn’t have my headphones handy – thanks for the reminder, I do want to check them out. If nothing else, I’m curious to see if she sounds anything like I imagine. 🙂

    Amber, I think you nailed it, too. I learn better by reading, although some people need to see something demonstrated or hear it discussed. My two examples are strictly entertainment, so maybe that’s why they work so well. Thanks for stopping by!

  6. OMG, Jennette, we’re sisters under the skin. I don’t watch videos unless i’m told they’re funny. The yodelling cats cracked me up – and i hadn’t seen it before. I can read faster than I can watch a video and I don’t remember video material anyway. when I read I can scroll back up and pick up what i missed.

    so like Coleen said, it a video is more than a minute, I don’t even start it. oops. maybe it’s a generational thing.

  7. I’m not big on videos in general, but I’ll always watch funny cat ones. That big furry tabby looks just like one of mine — right down to the annoyed expression. Thanks for sharing that, Jennette!

  8. LOL Louise – I’m glad it’s not just me!

    Debra – that cat looks a lot like my dad’s cat, too – and my brother used to do the same things to him as those guys! And he made the same sounds! I was LOL the whole time I watched this!

  9. Thank you for writing about this. I’ve wondered about it many times.

    I hate videos when it’s on a teaching subject. Back when I was in school, people wondered why I took verbatim notes during lectures, and it was because I got almost nothing from listening to a subject being taught. It was later, when I reviewed my notes, that my mind made all the important connections.

    As for videos in non-teaching blog posts, I prefer if they’re supplementary. If I’m talking about a particular part of a movie, I like to try to include a clip, but I’ll also write down the material in case someone doesn’t want to watch it. I want the video to truly be optional, not mandatory for my post. (Like today’s post in fact.) I know that some people, like my husband, LOVE video clips.

    I do some posts that are entirely video, but they tend to be either something funny or a movie trailer. People know almost immediately if they want to watch a movie trailer, and if they don’t, I haven’t wasted their time. Maybe in the future I’ll try to record my own v-logs, but I’m not there yet, and I’m not convinced they’d be worth the extra time they’d take me to create.

    As for enhanced ebooks, they’re not my cup of tea.

  10. I like audio books, but I have such an antiquated stereo in my car (CD, no audio jack) that Audible is not an option. (I’ll probably stick an earbud in when I finally get my Android replaced to use the library’s downloads.)

    I’m not a fan of video blogs, either, because I’m usually at work when I come across them. I don’t have time, and my coworkers would not appreciate it if I sit there watching videos while they’re writing code.

  11. Marcy, exactly! Supplemental material is the perfect use for videos. Or something like your examples, where the reader/viewer knows if s/he’s interested or not.

    Jim, you have the same issue I do! Even when it’s something I want to watch, I can’t, because I’m usually at work. I used to have a pair of plug-in headphones at the office, but they finally died a couple weeks ago. Thanks for commenting!

  12. Jennette, you are not alone. I too am not a fan of the video or vlog. I prefer to read the text on a blog or e-reader. Don’t have the patience for it. And I like to read. And yeah, you made me watch those silly videos. LOL! 🙂

  13. Vlogging? I’m barely catching on to blogging. I’d rather read a blog than listen to a video blog. Although the one about the monks who had taken a vow of silence and decided to “sing” the Hallelujah chorus had to be seen. I imagine for those who have to work in an office videos can be hard to snatch on a break too.

  14. I love audio books and wound up getting into a great series by Garth Nix because Tim Curry read it and how can you say no to that voice?

  15. Karen, CD and Prudence, I’m glad it’s not just me! Thanks for commenting

    Alicia – maybe I just haven’t listened to the right audio books – Tim Curry would be fantastic!

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  17. I’m with you. When it comes to vidoes I am always thankful when there is a transcript I can peruse at my own pace. I’m not a audio learner, I need the written word in front of me, which is why I think I failed English 110 when it was a fiction class, because so much of the material came from discussing the fiction and I found that difficult.