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The Challenge for Video Bloggers

Posted By Darren Rowse 30th of September 2006 Miscellaneous Blog Tips 0 Comments

I was really excited to hear about the launch of Robert Scoble’s Video Blog in the past week. It certainly caused a stir around the blogosphere as it got lots of mentions on launch and some pretty positive reviews from viewers.

When I saw some of the segments included in the show I was even more excited – some of what he was covering was right up my alley. So I immediately loaded up a couple of segments to watch….

So what did I think of the show?

Ummmm…. well…. as I look at my browser at the moment I still have the two segments loaded up and ready to watch – they’ve been sitting there now for a few days – unwatched. I’ve sat down to watch them on a couple of occasions but each time got distracted.

I’m sure they’re really good but I’m wondering if I’m ever going to get to them. The thing with video is that you really need to set aside time to do it – especially if the videos are more than a minute or two in length (Roberts are mainly between 8 and 35 minutes).

Perhaps I’m just not cut out for being a video blogging viewer – but I wonder whether I’m the only one?

By no means am I saying Robert’s show is no good (I definitely want to watch a couple of them over the weekend…. or next week) or that video blogging will never succeed. I guess I’m just thinking out loud about one of the challenges that video blogging (and probably podcasting and blogging in a written format) has – busyness of readers/viewers.

Video blogging has a distinct advantage in that it’s both a audio and visual medium which means it can go onto ground that blogging or podcasting can’t – however it also means it’s a more intensive process to interact with (at least the way I use it).

Podcasting can be played in the background while you do something else and blogging has the advantage of being able to scan through to find the interesting bits – but video blogging (in the way I’m seeing it used) needs those using it both to listen and look at it for them to fully interact with it.

Of course TV and Movies have big followings, which shows people are willing to give their full attention, but I’m interested to see what type of people will fully interact with video blogging.

Interested in what others think. Do you watch video blogs? Why/Why not? If so how many per week?

PS: I do understand that this week at the Scoble show that they are in launch mode and as a result have launched with quite a few videos all at once – I guess in time the frequency of posting will be lower which will help people digest it – but I guess the challenge remains.

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
  • Spot on. The internet’s an interactive medium and most people will be fidgetting around trying to watch video. People want to click stuff. Subject matter on the internet only gets as much attention as it earns and people aren’t going to set aside enough time for lengthy videos.

    There needs to be more interactivity. If the viewer’s involved, they’ll stay. Perhaps many short segments of video that the viewer can select as they please would be the way to go.

  • Jon

    This v-blog gets 5 minutes of my time every day…it’s awesome:

  • If its 5 minutes or less, then I am OK. But beyond that, I need to have a compelling reason to watch it. I have chosen couple of videos to watch, and they are still in my watchlist. Weekends may be a good time to target them.

    The main problem I see with bigger videos is that, you can’t scan them like we do to the text.

    I think providing both the video and the text version will be the right thing to do. But again, it might be too much work as well in terms of production.

    If I have a choice, I will choose the text version, and those who are interested in the rich experience of video, can wait and watch.

  • Totally agree. Visual media means you have got to be concise and fast because our attention is visually driven. I can listen to a podcast while doing other things whereas I can’t watch a vlog while working (i hope my boss doesn’t read this!).

    I watch vlogs like rocketboom because they are usually short and to the point.

  • I’m relatively new to the “videocasting” scene and have been doing the audiocasting a bit longer now. I recently came to the decision I would take the limited videocasting I have done over the past year or so and expand it out into a full blown show as well. The questions you raise are weighing heavily on my mind and one of course has to wonder will this endeavour pay off in terms of people actually watching.

    Scoble has a following already and he’ll have several people watching just because of that, he’ll have several watching just so they can harass him and complain about him and then he’ll have many that will watch because they are interested in what he is showing. So how does one judge the value of starting such a project or is it similiar to ones’ blog where you do it because you enjoy doing it and for no other reason?

    Personally I only watch 3 video blogs and then it’s usually only when I am traveling but I have been downloading more and more video demos and watching those of late, I’ve noticed that more and more people are creating and using video demos for their products so perhaps the audiences are increasing for this type of media?

    Sorry just some random thoughts here and curious as you are about how others are feeling about it.

  • You are not alone. I don’t watch any videos at all. I will sit and watch the occassional Youtube piece but it better be less than a minute or 2 or I just don’t have the time.

    Video blogging is a niche.

  • There’s a very fine line as to what might be appropriate for a Vlog and what might not. I certainly have much less time to watch video that to listen to audio … collecting an hour or so of interesting podcasts on a CD to listen to as I drive would not be so easy if they were vids ;-)

    Most important thing I’ve seen so far in the Vlog world is that folks are incorporating video just to incorporate video …Matt Curtt’s series of talks a few weeks ago a great example. Matt put out a whole lot of valuable info but the video component was non-existent, it could have all been his voice or his words at the keyboard.

    Dave sez … if you do video, make it visual

  • I watch u-tube, and have CNN’s Pipeline on my desk here at work — not really a v-blog, I guess.

    I do look at instructional videos, if I am learning something new, like the adsense tutorials, etc.

    Maybe I don’t have much of an attention span, but if I see something is going to be a 30-minute video, I pass.

    (Thanks for your blog; I always learn something new, every day!)

  • I only add video to my blog as an addition, more of a flavor-byte than the entire content of the blog. Like adding honey to your tea, nice to have, but not necessary for full interaction with the content. Right now, I think that is the best way. I don’t watch TV, but I will watch an embedded video in the blink of an eye on text blogs that I read regularly. I think it is all in the context and the regularity of the posting. If any of my favorite reads switched to being fully a vlog, I’d probably stop viewing them as regularly.

  • Brem, that’s a good point about rocketboom – it’s a good one (and one of the few vlogs I watch) because it’s short.

    In general I listen to audio podcasts and audiobooks when I just want to get away from the PC for a bit and give my eyes a break.

  • ha ha… I totally feel your pain “…they’ve been sitting there now for a few days – unwatched. I’ve sat down to watch them on a couple of occasions but each time got distracted.I’m sure they’re really good but …”

    Me too!
    I just found some great podcasting sites:
    Video Podcasts for educators
    more at my delicious site:

    and I downloaded a bunch of great podcasts. but there’s no extra time to view them… I have to make more time… and I want to watch Scoble, Leo Laporte, and a bunch of others. oh heck… we are deluged.

    I cancelled NetFlix when I realized I hadn’t watched any movies in a month…

    FWIW: I just received a free tshirt from CNN today: I sent in a little video in July, for their “I Report” viewer submitted news. It’s nice that they send viewers free tshirts…the tshirt says: “I Report for CNN”

    When you submit a video to CNN, maybe they’ll send you a tshirt. I don’t even remember if they said they would! I’d take a photo of it, but my hubby’s wearing it and he’s not feeling well… drat.. that would make a good blog entry.

  • I agree with you. Consider there might be a reason why intelligence briefs for heads of state and government officials are only on paper instead of by video: they’re too busy to sit down and go through newscasts where they can gist text in reader-friendly formats. Video and podcasts won’t let the user gist and this is a major problem that I don’t see going away for a long, long, time, if ever.

  • This leads me to another question I should have mentioned in my post…who actually watched video on or other news sites? Are they getting a good response? CNN seems to be playing up video big time but it’s mostly odd tabloid-type of news, which seems to make up the bulk of their front page anymore.

  • I actually wrote about this last week, and much like you, I don’t get it. I just don’t have the dead-time in my life to fill with video- or audio-casts.

    It’s not that there’s anything wrong with the content, it’s the attention requirements of the media.