Top 3 Reasons Why Video Blogging Won’t Make It Big

Filed as Editorial on September 18, 2008 3:46 am

Video blogging is never going to make it big for me, and neither are podcasts. Text content is king.

Now, why would I say that? Really, what’s wrong with heralding the video blog as blog 2.0 (or whatever version we’re at), and push the podcast as the 1.5 or something. I can give you 3 reasons why video won’t beat text, why the spoken word online can’t do a real battle with the written word.

  1. Time is limited. I can scan a written blog post quickly to see if it is something I would want to devote my time to, but a video clip forces me to sit and wait for the author to get to the point.
  2. The noise factor. I can sit in my chamber and listen to podcasts all night long, but if I’m at a public place, or at work even, cranking up the volume to hear what you’re saying isn’t an option. Headphones might work though.
  3. Professionalism. Let’s face it, not every voice carries well when recorded, not every person should be in front a video camera, and chances are you suck at sound and video mixing anyway. Editing type is way more accessible.

That being said, I do subscribe to a select few podcasts, and watch some online video shows. For argument’s sake, let’s say I’m following a total of 10 video shows and podcasts (which is generous, but fine). Compare that to the 250 blogs in my feed reader, and the additional 1,000 or so that I’ll stumble into in a month’s browsing the web.

Video blogging won’t make it big for me by itself. It is a feature, not the main attraction.

What do you think of video blogging and podcasts? How many are you subscribing to?

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  1. By der5er posted on September 18, 2008 at 4:36 am
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    There are a few podcasts that are more entertaining than their blog counterparts. I think this falls also to your point 3. Some people have voices that carry, and can speak well, but can’t type or write very well. That, or they just would rather say something than write something.
    Yes, there are FAR more feeds in my gReader, than my iTunes. I think that says something about the barriers to entry as well. Most people (myself included) wouldn’t do a podcast because it’s too much trouble. Also, I guard my podcast feed listing very closely. If I don’t like a show in the first few minutes, it’s gone. Whereas blogs will stay in my reader much longer with weak content because they had a good article once.

    However, saying that audio podcasts will never be a main attraction is like saying the radio will never be as big as the newspaper. I’m sure Clear Channel radio would disagree with that view of the market. I’m also sure that there are people listening to podcasts who never read blogs–just like I don’t read the newspaper anymore.

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  2. By Hilmy posted on September 18, 2008 at 8:13 am
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    While everyone wants us to believe that video is the next cash cow, Big G is still at a loss as to how to squeeze money out of youtube let alone your next door video blogger.

    Written text has survived thousand of years. It will for at least another thousand.

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  3. By AnneTanne posted on September 18, 2008 at 9:26 am
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    English is not my native language. However, the majority of the blogs I follow (none of them are podcasts or videoblogs) are English.
    I think I write English quite well, and I understand written English without any problem. But spoken English is often much harder to understand, especially when the speaker doesn’t realize that not everyone in his audience is a native speaker…

    (And I must admit, I do not know many Dutch videoblogs or podcasts.)

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  4. By Vlad Balan posted on September 18, 2008 at 1:12 pm
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    The only one I’m following is Loren from 1938media, he’s pretty funny sometimes. But if you ask me, video blogging is a waste of time. Podcasts are fine, you can listen it on a flight or on a trip, but the rest of the time, as you said, text is king!

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  5. By Craig Garber posted on September 18, 2008 at 2:17 pm
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    Thord, great article. There’s a very subtle 4th reason why “print rules,” if you wan to call it that: Positioning.

    Few things carry as much credibility, knowledge, and unspoken assumptive power as the printed word does, especially if it’s well-written. The fact that it takes much more effort to write than to throw up a video or a podcast, is another “intangible” factor that lends itself to positioning as well. I don’t think those folks who live and die by video or podcast (both of which I use, but not as primary communication tools) would agree or acknowledge this one, but it’s real, nonetheless.

    Take care, Craig

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  6. By Lin posted on September 18, 2008 at 2:45 pm
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    I agree with you; there isn’t one single video post or podcast that I find enough time or inclination to sit through when I can read a hell of a lot faster than a video/podcaster can speak.

    Most video bloggers/podcasters I’ve found aren’t professional speakers or articulate to the extent of being fluent in their speaking abilities. There tends to be a great deal of rambling, moving around, a lot of “um”, “and”, “uhh” etc that isn’t in their text posts.

    I have yet to sit through a video post of any kind. I get tired of the rambling very quickly and start looking elsewhere for information in text on another site that I can get through much quicker.

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  7. By Thirdrail posted on September 18, 2008 at 4:07 pm
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    I suspect everything you’re saying is true and accurate.

    For most people over 30.

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  8. By Naturalself posted on September 18, 2008 at 6:04 pm
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    Its not something I’ve thought too much about before, but when it comes to the “time factor” it seems to be very true.

    One would have to take into account the social demographic of the audience involved and the video would have to be served to a specific audience for it to work consistantly ie: video tutorial sites, etc.

    However I believe what you are saying is right. There is nothing worse than waiting for a video to load and if you missed a particular point, you need to go back to it again. Frustrating…

    With text, as you say, you scan the particular piece and your done. Moving right along…

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  9. By Michael posted on September 18, 2008 at 6:35 pm
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    The major problem I see with video blogs is that it isn’t a very efficient way to share ideas. When reading a blog post I can skip the boring parts and scan the whole post to find the most interesting and most important parts, if a blog post was spoken in a video instead of in text it would take me nearly twice as long to gain the same amount of information.

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  10. By Jordan posted on September 18, 2008 at 6:56 pm
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    You Tube is a form of video blogging and YT is freakin’ huge.

    To me the beauty of Vlogging is that it is raw. Depending on the site it doesn’t need to be perfect, it needs to be genuine. I can’t read stuffy or blogs that are not genuine.

    If text content is king great dialogue for your vid is all you need. You can also use text in your vids to get a point across and it’s highly effective.

    There needs to be many medium options for blogs and video is sadly one of the lesser used.

    I actually don’t agree that text or content is king and the term is highly overused.

    If that were true there would be no need for marketing, no such thing as audio books or adaptations into film.

    Some blogs are unbearable to get through reading but have some of the best information. I’d rather watch and be shown a “how to” than have to read it sometimes.

    G video does not allow user feedback and You Tube is popular because it does. You can even leave “video responses” and comments on the users channel as well as the video itself.

    Bloggers should be using video more.

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  11. By Ryan McLean posted on September 18, 2008 at 6:57 pm
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    I agree with you that text is superior at the moment online. If culture changes this could change.
    But I believe that video is a key aspect to blogging now in the 2.0 web world. But you can do this by video blogging just once a week or once every two weeks. This keeps the ones who love video entertained and the ones who love text entertained also.
    Though I think listening to podcasts are getting outdated. Video is the new audio.
    Video killed the podcast star

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  12. By Emma posted on September 19, 2008 at 12:19 am
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    I couldn’t agree more on a personal level, but not everyone use blogs the way we do. I recently listened to a radio interview of two popular local bloggers, one with a political science degree commenting on the world from that point of view and one a socialite writing personal ramblings about parties and sex. The socialite broke all of the ‘rules’ of blogging and trying to read her, it may as well have been a video blog. The bottom line is:her readers were interested in her and her rambling which may or may not include information about other people they know of.

    If your readers come for you, and who you are, video may actually be better way to sell your personal brand.

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  13. By jhay posted on September 19, 2008 at 12:19 am
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    Bandwidth issues would soon weigh in on this issue. Now that US ISPs have gotten away with bandwidth regulation video and audio content would have some tough roads ahead.

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  14. By Mark posted on September 19, 2008 at 11:11 am
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    Why is it an either/or proposition. I blog and podcast and eventually I am sure I will be offering video as well. It depends on the subject but I was tired of just writing about music on The Rock and Roll Report, I wanted people to hear it as well.

    I really think that the future of “new media” is really a combination of all these things, not any exclusivity to one or the other. I am not a blogger or a podcaster, I am an electronic publisher of musical opinions.

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  15. By Michael posted on September 19, 2008 at 11:47 am
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    I skip video blogs and podcasts 99.9% of the time. But I may need to get used to the idea in the future. As fewer and fewer people read, fewer and fewer people will write, too, first out of market forces, then because the new content providers will want to blog with video and podcast. They will not want to write at all, except, when they must, to provide captions and excerpts.

    You forgot one more benefit to text blogging over video blogs and podcasts. Google and other search engines do not (and cannot, at this point) index videos and podcasts by searchable keyword.

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  16. By der5er posted on September 19, 2008 at 12:21 pm
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    @Michael: Google is working on your last point, and even has it up and running in (I’m sure never-ending) beta:
    http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2008/07/in-their-own-words-political-videos.html
    FTA: “With the help of our speech recognition technologies, videos from YouTube’s Politicians channels are automatically transcribed from speech to text and indexed.”

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  17. By Mike posted on September 20, 2008 at 8:13 am
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    Text is better for search engines, as of now.

    The real key is whether or not you have a “relationship” with the listener.

    If it’s a long term “relationship”, audio is far more effective than text at getting a point across and for causing the listener to take action.

    If all you talk about on your blog is you and what you do, text is fine.

    If you are teaching, audio and/or video is far superior.

    That’s why there ar still teachers in the classroom and not just books.

    Most people, even a couple here, assume they are their market. The key is to ask your audience how they want to receive your content.

    The new world order of content is to give it to them, when they want, how they want.

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  18. By Susanne posted on September 22, 2008 at 4:07 am
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    I agree to some parts of your article and the comments (I don’t see video podcasting attracting me at all) but I disagree when it comes to the usage. In my opinion blogs are more or less information-driven, while podcasts more often give me entertainment with information.
    Another big difference:
    I have to sit in front of my computer (or watch the screen of my Blackberry) to read Blogs. I can listen to podcasts while doing some household chores, work in the garden, cooking diner or – even better – running. Being a working mom of three I find more time for listening to podcasts than for reading blogs.
    I am not an english native speaker, but my english improved a lot listening to different english podcasts (both american and british) – you simply don’t get the pronounciation with reading, let alone different types of accents. It’s great listening to a canadian podcast and than a british one. As a blog both of them would be more or less the same.
    The personal touch is the part I like most regarding podcasts. You can tell when someone lives what he talks. I am really pleased if the enthusiasm for a subject comes through in a podcast. I don’t get that feeling often with blogs.

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  19. By Mike Abrahams posted on July 30, 2009 at 7:30 am
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    I agree with the article and particularly with the last commenter Susanne about podcasts versus video (although rather unaccountably podcast takeup seems to be pretty slow).

    It’s totally mystifying as to why some people who should never have been allowed near a camera think they are going to advance their cause by switching from text to video.

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