I'm not much for visuals. I don't like video blogs, slide show blogs: I want text. I suspect that's because I have extreme astigmatism and it wasn't corrected until I was well into school; I couldn't see much of the world around me so I never really learned to appreciate visual images as much as most people do. Probably for the same reason I'd rather read a book than watch a movie.
But there's more to it. I can't stand watching video blogs because they take too much time. I can read and skim through dozens of websites in the time it would take me to watch one video.. watching videos (and slideshows are almost as bad) just isn't efficient.
Obviously some things need pictures, and some things need video. But it seems to me that a lot of what's presently blogged in a video format not only doesn't need to be that way, but shouldn't be.
However, these formats are becoming very popular. Even a few blogs that I used to read regularly have switched to video - annoying me greatly, but apparently satisfying their greater audience. So what's the deal? Is text doomed to extinction? Is it because of poor reading skills? Do the people who prefer to listen and watch actually get more of of that than they would from reading? I'm beginning to think that must be the case.. if so, it's a terrible shame.
A seller of speed reading resources says this:
I don't know how accurate that is, but it wouldn't surprise me if it were true. Worse, as I know at least some of us read much more, that would mean that a high percentage doesn't read at all.. scary, I think. There are other statistics at http://www.readfaster.com/education_stats.asp that don't comfort me any.. Susan Jacoby's The Age of American Unreason has quite a bit to say about American ignorance; I can't help but feel the trend toward video is strongly related.
On the other hand, I'm acutely aware that part of this is the old fogey grumbling about the youngun's ways. Humans have been doing that for centuries, maybe longer. There is no denying that video is an inefficient way of imparting information, but there is also the fact that it can be more effective and memorable. That is, it may be true that large amounts of knowledge can be transmitted more quickly through the written word, but a lesser quantity presented with video may be more easily absorbed. We have never before had the ability to provide so much information in this way, so it may be far too early to bemoan its supposed impotency. Overall, it might actually be better: if Johnny can read, but won't, imparting knowledge by video is certainly better than nothing at all.
Remarkablogger did a post recently entitled What Makes a Great Video Blog? which imbeds a number of sample videos from popular video bloggers. Some of the comments express misgivings about the time required to watch these sites, but most seem to think the trend is inevitable.
Obviously YOU can read - or you wouldn't be here. What's your feeling about the trend toward video? Do you like it, hate it, or is it just another medium, useful for some things? Do you read more than you watch or vice versa? Does functional illiteracy and ignorance worry you as much as it worries me?
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More Articles by Anthony Lawrence © 2009-11-07 Anthony Lawrence
I just had to take the hypertext idea and connect it to the TCP and DNS ideas and â€” ta-da!â€” the World Wide Web. ((Tim Berners-Lee)