Skip to content →

Blog vs Vlog = ASCII vs Binary

Brad Templeton’s writes on his blog:

At the blogger panel at Fall VON … Vlogger and advocate Dina Kaplan asked bloggers to start vlogging. It’s started a minor debate.

My take? Please don’t.

I’ve written before on what I call the reader-friendly vs. writer-friendly dichotomy. My thesis is that media make choices about where to be on that spectrum, though ideal technology reduces the compromises.

Brad goes on to make the point that supplying content in vlog format places a burden upon the viewer to consume the content at the pace dictated by the producer. Blogging (written media) facilitates far a quicker consumption experience – both in terms of the speed one can read and also the ease of scanning through copy to sift out points of interest.

Brad actually goes on to advocate podcasting as an acceptable format as it can be listened to whilst jogging, etc. I think he’s correct to a degree – podcasting is certainly easier to consume than video/vlogging as it is a multitaskable medium (unlike blogging too). However it’s still binary – it still requires you to consume at a pace decided by the producer and it’s far harder to index and search through. Unless it contains a meta-wrapper, there is also no hyperlinking which is arguably one of the greatest keys to the world-wide-web’s success.

It’s for this reason that I’ve been sceptical as to the long-term success of podcasting as an informational medium. And this scepticism certainly extends to vlogging.

Podcasting is certainly great for ‘entertainment’ experiences and vlogging certainly lends itself to this even further through the added dimension of a visual experience.

However, evidence from the wider media landscape shows that people are shunning ‘passive’ experiences such as television (where one is not required to do anything to consume the experience other than veg out in front of the TV) in favour of more ‘active’ experiences such as the Internet. Even book reading is an ‘active’ experience as one must concentrate on the words on the book and create a mental picture of the story or subject matter being discussed.

I’m just not sure whether people’s media consumption attitudes are changing — people want to be more engaged with what they are consuming. People are also leading busier lives where the opportunity to sit down to a 10 minute edition of rocketboom just may be non-existent or at least not worth the compromise of neglecting something else instead.

There are many other subjective arguments why podcasting and vlogging should be discouraged – the barrier to entry of their consumption (PDA’s, mobiles, etc) and the difficulty and expense of storing & downloading them. However they are indeed subjective – there are arguments to counter those points I guess.

However I think most people would agree that we need to produce work in the format that’s right for the content at hand, and for the end consumer who’s going to consume it. For the moment at least, I think most people still use the blogosphere more for informational use than they do entertainment and as such that needs to be considered when you’re about to produce your next blog/podcast/vlog.

Published in News