For Dina Kaplan: Why I Don't Have a VLOG

by alec on September 15, 2006

Yesterday, Andy Abramson posted a video blog entry from VON, goaded on by Blip.tv‘s Dina Kaplan, who asked “Why not video?” at the bloggers panel.  Andy’s piece is a roughly one minute segment in the same style that Andy and Ken Rutkowski use on Ken Radio — rapid fire, quick commentary on a number of different stories.

Andy deserves applause for taking up the challenge.

However:

  1. His eyes must get dry. Notice how little he blinks.
  2. He’s sitting very close to the camera, which gives the impression that he’s talking to the guard on the local grocery’s security system, rather than his audience of thousands on the internet. Perhaps that’s in order to get the lighting to work (Andy doesn’t have a studio).

Both of these flaws detracted from his message.  After watching this video once, do you remember the high points?

Granted, most of blip.tv’s shows have higher production values than Andy’s experiment.  Neo-Fight, or the Captain Humphrey‘s project, for example, have better quality video, camera angles, and post production editing.  They’re easier to watch.  Andy, however, is a better speaker.  He might make a great vlogger with a small studio behind him.

Look at the blogroll list on the left sidebar of this blog.  It’s over 400 sites.  Most don’t get read everyday.  Most don’t even get a scan every day.  But imagine if that content was buried in a video — not indexable, not searchable, not even easily scanned by the human eye.  Imagine if it took three minutes of watching, to get the same information easily garnered by a 15 second scan of a text post.  Imagine how few of those blogs would ever be read.

For me, turning the internet into TV isn’t interesting.  Over the past five years, I’ve probably trimmed my television viewing to less than 1 hour per week. Don’t get me wrong — I used to watch quite a bit of TV, using ReplayTV to search out and find the good stuff.  When I returned to Canada, where the Replay service doesn’t exist, I turned away from TV.  There was no way to find programming I found interesting anymore, other than by locking my time schedule to the networks time schedule. I have a family, and I have a startup, both of which come before television.  My choices were network TV or no TV.  Most network television lacks depth; it’s pablum for the eyeballs of the masses.  Most network news is uninteresting; it’s barely able to scratch the surface of a topic in a one hour broadcast.  It wasn’t a hard choice.

I’m not sure I’ll ever go back to TV. I’ve rediscovered the value of the written word, the nuances of meaning that can be conveyed, and the delight of a particularly clever turn of phrase. Why would I want to give that up for the pap that most video represents?  And conversely, why would I want to turn my blog into just two minutes of daily sound bites?

And that, Dina, is why I don’t have a vlog.

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