We’ve had an avalanche of enthusiasm and opinion about podcasts and videocasts, audio comments and video comments on blogs. I don’t knock any of those. I’m all for innovation, and I like the idea of identifying with the person who is communicating with me.
Back in the bad old days, people got all enthusiastic about embedding a picture of themselves in a word file, and printing out the letter on a colour printer.
PDFs also became popular about the same time, though not as accessible. Embedding an audio file in those was a development. That showed promise – a bit of a veer to the side, since the PDF was originally intended to provide a portable printable format, but that's cool.
At that same time, we had webs with embedded audio files and streamed videos. Web 2.0 hit us and all of that burst in cascades of foam as things went wild with Twitter, Tumbler, Seesmic and lots of other goodies besides.
A put-down on text
There’s been a bit of put-down where blogs with text comments are concerned. And I wonder if any real thought has been put into why blogs should still be so popular, or indeed, of the real merits of text.
Here’s my take on reading a post or comments against it, compared to listening to podcasts or watching video comments – and I emphasise here that it’s not my intention to knock any of those technologies, for I truly believe they all have their place.
But . . .
When it comes to scanning for detail that may be useful, I find it difficult to do this with audio or video. Even if all of the comments are video comments in response to the original video casted post, there is no way I have a hope of scanning the page to see if there’s anything that interests me there. I have to doggedly play the files – one by one.
Frankly, there is no way I can get the feel of what the discussion is all about just by scanning the post. The same applies to audio files. In short, they actually slow me down and can make skimming for information exceedingly tedious, if not impossible.
When it comes to citing, or quoting from a video-post or video comment I have the same problem. I've yet to hear anything to the contrary. It seems that they’re not transmutable, for the ‘in’ way to respond or comment on a video-cast seems to be only acceptable in kind.
Yesterday, I listened to a 10 minute conversation-cast. I had some ideas that I’d like to comment on, and though the speakers were all introduced one by one, I’m damned if I could remember all their names.
Not an easy scan
D’you think I could easily scan across the vid to pick them out? Not a chance. I gave up in the end and submitted a bland comment with no appropriate reference to the speakers because I could not easily recall who they were.
As I said at the beginning of this soliloquy, I’m not knocking the audios or the vids. They have their place. Just don’t expect me to drum up enthusiasm to respond in kind when I know damn well it’s simpler to write a brief comment.