Friday, 04 May 2007
Blogs, Podcasts and Online Video Versus Print
Even though Crabby Old Lady spent decades of her professional life producing radio and television programs – and she's pretty good at it – her first love is words on a page, reading them and writing them.
Reading goes at one’s own pace. Find yourself thinking, “yeah, yeah, yeah, would you just get on with it”? You can easily skip the boring parts. Didn’t quite understand that last paragraph? “Rewind” takes only a refocus upwards to go over it again. Liked the way the writer said that? There is as much time as you want to savor the phrase or sentence.
With audio and video you’re stuck with the speed of human speech. It is impossible in fast-forward mode to know when the good parts resume, backing up interrupts the flow and aside from famous movie lines, Crabby has rarely heard anyone say anything on screen that she immediately wanted to hear again. It is a phenomenon of speech (versus the written word) that it doesn't invite contemplation.
But the blogosphere is changing. Podcasts, video, internet radio are already established modes of online communication and rapidly growing in popularity. There is a sense that if, as a blogger, you’re not posting to YouTube or its rivals or not publishing a podcast now and then, you’re falling behind.
Call Crabby old-fashioned, but she is unlikely to follow the herd to sound and pictures. Could this be a generational issue…
The only time Crabby spends on YouTube and its clones is when someone has sent her a link. Oh, she once devoted a couple of hours to searching out and watching Gore Vidal clips, but that’s a personal fetish – the only real hero Crabby has ever had. And she regularly watches clips at Norm Jenson’s One Good Move because his political tastes are similar to Crabby's and he posts only the good bits so it saves her a lot of television-watching time.
But otherwise, unless a blogger gives her a compelling reason to watch a video they’ve posted and tells her how long the video runs, she doesn't watch them. Most are too slow and without much payback for the time invested. But Crabby appears to be in the minority on this.
A year or two ago, Crabby experimented with recording these blog posts and posted both the audio and print versions. But she is not a professional reader and it not only took time to rewrite the post for speaking, it took several tries to get it recorded well. That’s a highly boring endeavor and it eats up time during which Crabby could have read a bunch of blogs, newspapers, books or magazines.
Recently, Crabby played around with a webcam version of these posts. She's no good at it without a script and since she doesn't have a TelePrompTer, eye contact with the camera suffered. So she trashed that idea too.
Crabby has seriously considered a live, weekly, TGB internet radio show in which she would interview interesting folks about aspects of aging and allow listeners to ask questions. But, she would need to book the guests, do the research, write the interviews, etc. It’s not that she doesn't know how; God knows she has years of experience – which is why she knows how much time it takes to do it well. Crabby is still considering it, but she is a slow thinker.
Meanwhile, Crabby does't know if the phenomenal growth of online audio and video is a generational difference or if elders are moving in that direction as quickly as younger people – at least as watchers if not producers. Personally, Crabby has other activities that engage her more than wading through videos at the speed of human speech, and most she has seen contribute nothing to her knowledge or entertainment.
Besides, Crabby Old Lady already spends way too much face time with this computer.
It may consign Time Goes By to the slow lane of the blogosphere, but for the time being this blog and Crabby will stick with print. It is an infinitely richer experience.
[EDITORIAL NOTE: Mick Brady is back at The Elder Storytellking Place with a winter, childhood adventure titled Back To the River of Dreams. It's a keeper.]