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Text is better than video

Posted by Richard on July 12, 2010

Heartless Libertarian (who recently returned from a one-year deployment to Afghanistan; welcome back, man!) wondered if he was alone in this:

I'm sorry, but I hate video blogs.

No offense to the fine folks at PJTV, but please, if you've got something to say, use the keyboard and write it out. I can read faster than you can talk (not to mention I can read it at work without attracting attention) and my mind won't wander off nearly as quickly from the written word.

Please…less v-logging, more blogging.

I'll second that. Yes, there are some things for which video is better than text. And yes, I've enjoyed some of the stuff people like Steve Green and Bill Whittle have done on PJTV. But that said, I'm a text guy — which makes me a Neanderthal, I suppose (heck, I'm old enough to be a Neanderthal).

Video is better at holding my attention than audio alone (sorry, folks, but I'm just not ever going to download and listen to those podcasts), assuming it's well done (and yes, the PJTV stuff is usually very well done). But for most news and information material, I'd prefer to see it in print. Or see the video and also have access to a transcript (yes, I realize that's a lot of additional work).

For one thing, print is much easier to excerpt for a blog post or an email to friends. With video, you end up saying things like, "Hey, David, check out . The first part won't interest you, but the part from 6:41 to 8:54 is relevant to what we were talking about yesterday." Lame. Awkward. And more likely to be ignored by David.

For another, I'd much rather reread a paragraph of text, think about it, and reread it again than try to do the same by repeatedly backing up and replaying portions of a video. It's also easier to compare a piece of text to another piece of text. 

Video has certain advantages, given the right material and presenter. You get nuances and shades of meaning that you just can't get from written material alone. And of course, video is the only way to present things like "We Con the World." 

But if your video is just some talking head reading a script, how about instead of the video, or in addition to the video, you post the script?

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