Thursday, June 16, 2011


"A good video can make all the difference."
-Brian May

A few years back, there was this new alleged craze in blogging called V-logging. It was video blogging, where a blogger would say the same stuff the ordinarily would write, but do it with a video camera. It was great for the illiterate, and it was considered the next big thing that everyone who was going to be anyone had to jump on to.

The Vlog movement was dominated by pretty girls, with Mary Katherine Ham and Michelle Malkin putting one out every few days. Atlas Shrugged had bikini vlogs, and a lot of guys tried it out.

It didn't go far. They all stopped doing it regularly, although a few still put out a vlog once in a while. Guys like Stephen Crowder put out some pretty great stuff, but they're really a minority. Why didn't it take off like people expected? Isn't watching or listening to a video easier than reading?

Well there are a lot of reasons. People stopped making them regularly because they just weren't generating the interest that was expected by some. Instead of building hits and getting fat advertising checks, people watched some and didn't come back to them.

Video posts don't tend to get repeat business like text ones, largely because the commenting is lighter. There's less to say, people remember what was said, and its more awkward to revisit a video than to just scan through a post.

Videos take time to load and require a fair amount of bandwidth. If you have a slow connection or an old machine, they tend to be really slow and choppy, which is never any fun. You can't just pull up a bookmark and read what was there, you have to wait til its ready to show you.

And videos are awkward compared to text. You can pause a video, but they are difficult to search through for something that came before. If you can't remember well enough to scan the text visually, there's always a search function for text. Videos just don't have that.

Another problem with videos as opposed to text is that they have sound. You can read my blog at work (on break, naturally), but having an audio visual play on your computer is a bit attention-grabbing. And you might not care to have it blaring out loud where you are. Sure you might like Ann Coulter's acidic humor, but most people realize she's not popular with others, and its bad etiquette to play sound in public anyway. If you're in a coffee house, the last thing anyone else wants to hear is everyone else's audio feed.

Videos are fairly difficult to produce, and to put out a really good one that people will enjoy (such as Michelle Malkin's Hot Air ones), you have to lay out some cash. Its not a huge amount with the cheap effects and editing software, but there is an expense, and if the videos don't bring in at least that much in increased advertising revenue, they're a waste.

That's why you don't see Michell Malkin's videos any more. They were sort of an interesting novelty, and while I liked seeing Mary Katherine Ham's lovely face in a video, reading her writing is pretty good too, and a lot more convenient.

Youtube and other uses aside, the Internet is still and likely will be for some time now, a text-based platform. And that's good; reading gets things into your brain better than video. You'll remember visually striking moments in video, but text gets the meaning and point to your memory much more effectively.

And that's great for awkward people who don't come across well on video. Its great for people who don't have a lot of cash or time, too.

Its not that there's no vlogging going on, like I said Steven Crowder does them once a week or so. Pajamas Media has a couple different people doing them. There are still video blogs out there, they just didn't take off like people expected.


alethiophile said...

For me, I usually skip vlogs even if I'm interested in what they have to say, because I can read very fast and a video takes quite a bit longer (not to mention the other issues). I do occasionally watch vlogs, or the equivalent at least, but it's usually at PJTV or somewhere else that's entirely devoted to them.

Unknown said...

I would rather throw some headphones on and listen to a podcast then listen to someone or watch them on a video blog. I just do not like it. But most podcasts I enjoy.

Philip said...

It's good for things like animated charts, or for quotes, but it's too much like TV news, more difficult to cite or reference, and often it boils down to "look at how clever my delivery is".

Tscottme said...'s Kindle is awesome for reading blogs and magazines while mobile. Not only is the Kindle screen very comfortable to read, compared to a light-projecting screen, but it's free of monthly charges.

I read blogs every night on my Kindle. I use to simplify wbe pages, which makes them load faster on the Kindle. There is no data charge or monthly fee for 3G wireless internet. It uses the Spring network.

I use my Kindle with 3G more to read the web and books.