Video consumption is up 33% from last year, with US internet consumers watching over 13 billion videos a month according to comscore. That averages out to be over 90 videos per person per month. As video content rises in popularity, I keep hearing about how video is going to kill the “static web.”
I hope not. My beef with video is that most of the videos I want to watch are usually better presented as text. I wish TED would provide a transcript (all great thinkers, but not necessarily great orators).
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but I can skim that many words in a little over a minute. Please don’t make make me sit through 20 minutes of someone talking at a camera. That is worse than a power point presentation with tiny, dense text and no pictures.
Currently, Video is neither skimmable, searchable, nor interactive. The great part about text on the internet is that you can find exactly the information you want, when you need it. If you need more, you can drill down through links as deep as you like.
Thank goodness many people include transcripts with their videos. TED does try to make its video content more searchable by providing with thematic timelines (ie from minute 3 to minute 5 bill gates is talking about africa whereas from 7 to 9 he is talking about software). I wish more people did this. Companies like Klickable.com are trying to make video more interactive by linking objects in the video to other content. I hope it works.
Obviously there are tons of places where video is better than text. These instances have natural visual components. How to make oragami. Sports footage. College Humour. this gets me thinking-
Question: Is online video consumption will surpassing online text consumption because video is a more efficient and communicative medium (as many of its pundits would have you believe) or is this sea change just a manifestation of improved technology enabling the general public to realize its preference for passive entertainment (video, shorts) over more demanding media (text, long form)?
Is text (with pics) still the best medium for complex/actionable info? i think so, for most cases.
I bet that even if video technology was around back in the ARPANET days, people wouldn’t have used it as much as they do today. Back then, the purpose of the internet was to inform, not to entertain. As internet consumers have changed from governemnt researchers to middle school students watching themselves on youtube and cube dwellers wasting time before the bell tolls, so has the purpose of the internet.
Is this because falling production and distribution costs (on the net) have enabled less and less valuable information to be profitably created and disseminated? Will targeting and push-media become so good that people will go back to sitting mindlessly infront of their computers like they once did currently do infront of their TVs? Lord knows how easy it is to get nothing done while “catching up” on your RSS feeds*…
This post turned out to be more questions than answers but i would love to hear what everyone else thinks.
*Beware of entertainment posing as information (Hi Discovery channel, Hi CPAN, Hi blogosphere).