Vlogging == slogging

Chandrasutra has posted some thoughts on video blogging , to which Tony Walsh replied with a screed in the comments:

[Vlogging] robs me of granular control over my information. Text is somewhat random-access, and easier to skim. Video and audio are more sequential and harder to breeze through. With video and audio, I am at the mercy of the media creator. With text, I’m the boss. …

Then there’s the fact that video footage isn’t very search-friendly without spending time manually-annotating the footage or providing a transcript.

Hear, hear. Video and audio are too damned real-time.

Of course there is inherently visual and/or auditory content which calls for multimedia. And I suppose that vlogging is a good thing if it empowers some couch potatoes to become active producers of video culture rather than passive consumers. But I see vlogging as a special case rather than as the natural next step in the development of blogging.

Which reminds me of another semi-curmudgeonly point I’ve been meaning to make on the related topic of podcasting.

Has there been a semantic shift in the term “podcasting”? When I first heard of it I thought it referred to the practice of aggregating audio in the form of RSS feeds and automating its delivery to your MP3 player. I understood it largely as a way to time-shift your online audio listening — TiVo for npr.org and bbc.co.uk, you might say. And it was a natural fit with MP3 bloggers and other aggregators of online music.

But now I hear podcasting used to mean “audio blogging”, with a number of people working on turning their daily thoughts into audio feeds. That’s a fine experiment, but unless they’re producing content which is most compelling in spoken-word form, I’d probably rather just read it.

So — did podcasting mean audio blogs all along, or is that a more recent development?

9 thoughts on “Vlogging == slogging

  1. I feel a bit guilty about my loathing of A/V blogging. On the one hand, I’m happy to see that people are trying out blogging in various forms of media — that they are doing *something* at all is great. On the other hand, video and audio are a not only a more exclusive media than text, but a more cumbersome one as well, in terms of both authorship and consumption.

    I’m against A/V blogging because I see it as a marginally-interesting but largely-futile experiment. Which would be fine on its own, but the amount of hype surrounding it is beyond obnoxious. I’m hoping that the dust will settle soon, and people will realize than only one or two percent of us are capable of singlehandedly creating stellar grassroots television and radio programs.

  2. Excellent points from both you and Tony. I agree about the granularity problems and Tony’s “I’m the boss” relation to text. I also agree that we shouldn’t view these differing participatory media as causal/evolutionary.

    I am biased towards the word. I love the word. And the word is my chosen form. But I’m interested in seeing where the vloggers take the idea of participatory media. I think there’s a lot they can do that still hasn’t even been explored so I’m not prepared to fault them for their early attempts. There are some issues they need to address like privacy and consent – the Dave Winer thing is interesting in that regard:
    http://ryanedit.blogspot.com/2005/05/dave-winer-done-with-us.html

    This is very cute and funny and it’s easy to see where they’re coming from at the end. But I can also see that Winer is uncomfortable about being filmed and expresses this a few times. Sure, he blows them off but you can see that he was getting a bit pissed off with the impromptu interview. He doesn’t give consent during the interview – perhaps he does before hand. That’s not clear. It’s stuff like this that makes me worry about what people could do with video – how it could be abused. But then… anything can be abused. I don’t want to get too caught up in this issue of abuse for this reason but I think there are a lot of considerations when it comes to vlogging that have to be discussed.

  3. I don’t get the indignation over Winer’s behavior in this video. There’s no sign that Winer had promised the vloggers a lock on his time or attention, nor for that matter that he’d agreed to be videoed. They engaged him in some hallway conversation while he was busy with other things and he graciously talked to them for a couple of minutes, despite the unexpected camera. Then other people he wanted to talk to walked by and rather than let them get away he hollered, hey, you want lunch?

    So where’s the crime or the insult in that? Perhaps it would have been more polite if he had said “excuse me, I want to talk to my friends”, but then it also would have been polite for the vloggers to say, “Hey, Dave, have you got a few minutes for us to vlog you? Is now a good time?”

  4. “only one or two percent of us are capable of singlehandedly creating stellar grassroots television and radio programs.”

    Yeah, that’s the other issue! I, for example, don’t even own a digital camera. With vlogging there’s the whole issue of the video and of editing that video, sound considerations, etc. This is really cool for vloggers who are already media industry professionals who either a) own their own gear or b) have access to editing suites, etc. But again, I’m not going to fault them for having access to production that I don’t have and doing something with it – especially if what they do is worthwhile. But let’s see!

    Re; “Hey, Dave, have you got a few minutes for us to vlog you? Is now a good time?�

    That’s another thing about all of this – blogging included – consent, responsibility, manners. There are a lot of things we can learn from the big bad old media on this one (sans the proprietary),

  5. There are some interesting differences in text and video blogs with regards to context. A good text-based blogger will quote a subject and link back to the source so that the reader can verify/explore the original context. With videoblogging you see exactly what the author wants you to see. If you weren’t there, you can’t verify or explore the context of the footage in order to determine whether or not there is more to the story. It gets back to my statements about vlogging robbing the audience of control — it seems so contrary to blogging’s ideals.

  6. I’ve considered podcasting to have a larger connotation than what you described. I suppose I’ve just read the conflation of “iPod” and “broadcast” to mean any audio content produced for the purpose of downloading.

    I agree that the bar for podcasting is a little higher than blogging, but I think there’s a lot of content that can benefit from this. One of my favorite current examples is Scott Sigler’s podcast book EarthCore. The publishing deal for Sigler’s sci-fi novel fell through, so he’s releasing it a couple of chapters at a time as a podcast. Audiobooks aren’t exactly a new idea, and EarthCore isn’t War and Peace. But it’s a pretty fun story and he’s got a few thousand people downloading the chapters each week. I’m guessing that if he simply posted the book online it might not be getting nearly the same response.

  7. Like Stan, I figured that podcasting = pod + broadcasting and figured it meant any digital audio content. But I don’t plan to listen to anything that isn’t professionally produced. Blogs by audio–yuk. I wouldn’t even want to listen to MY blog that way. I can hardly stand to watch television anymore, it’s so linear. No way I’m listening to blog. Too slow.

  8. Totally depends on the content. I’ve ignored the pod casting world but recently I began to download a few and noticed a complete shift in the type of content that has made its way into that format. Text is better for communicating many things but on certain topics audio or the visual of a vlog offers huge advantages. I just LOVE that mediums abound and we can each choose the one that fits our topics and personalities the best.

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