Note to the Internet: Videos aren’t THAT cool

A quick note to the Internet, especially those out there who run tech information sites. (Channel 9? I’m looking at YOU guys).

Videos are compelling. They get your face out there. You get a modicum of celebrity. People hear your voice. Heck, you can even show your family.

Please, keep it to YouTube.

I’ll watch videos on the internet when I want to waste a few minutes looking at a drunken squirrel, or check out Zero Punctuation. When I want information – a science based interview, or a good tutorial on how to use, say, Dynamic Data Entities in ASP.NET – believe it or not, I actually want text.

Why do I want text?

  • I can read really fast. I can skim even faster. When I’m looking for tech information, I’m looking for a couple of very specific bits and pieces.
  • It’s searchable on Google or Live Search. And you know what? I know ALL the keywords I need to know to get the search result in the first couple of links usually.
  • I can cut & paste it into OneNote if I really need to.
  • I can read it on my mobile phone if necessary.
  • I don’t have to shut out the world and put on my headphones.
  • I don’t want to look like I’m wasting time surfing the net at work (which I look like when I’m looking for tech info usually anyway). Watching a video? It’s the same problem squared.
  • Returning to point 1 – reading really fast – I don’t want to waste 15 minutes to an hour watching something that I could get through in less than 3 minutes.

If you put your information in video-only format, you’re actually just stroking your ego. If it’s technical information and it’s NOT a Photoshop tutorial, or a very SPECIFIC demonstration of new features in, say, Windows 7 - then please, don’t do it. Don’t. Just don’t. Stop it. I don’t want to hear your voice. I don’t want to watch you mug for the camera. I just want the information I came for. Give me a break.

What’s worse is when what I’m watching is someone’s cursor wandering around Visual Studio for 15 minutes. DON’T DO IT. IT’S BORING.

imagePointless ego stroking: hey look! It’s code! In a video! You can even hear them type! 

Video is great for some things. It’s my preferred medium for stories. I love it for comedy. Just please, give information in the most suitable form. And for 90% of people in a hurry, just trying to get their day-to-day done, that form is text.

(And Powerpoint mavens? I’m watching you… don’t get too complacent)

About the author

Simon Cooke is an occasional video game developer, ex-freelance journalist, screenwriter, film-maker, musician, and software engineer in Seattle, WA.

The views posted on this blog are his and his alone, and have no relation to anything he's working on, his employer, or anything else and are not an official statement of any kind by them (and barely even one by him most of the time).

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