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VidBlogging, Blogcasting… I Still Do Not Get It

Skepticism is healthy and leaves room for later acceptance, eh? As previously barked, I am not convinced yet that there is a natural leap form the success of podcasting to saying video will take off just the same. I would enjoy being wrong.

David Weinberger, the Cluetrain guy, the Small Pieces guy someone I read often and respect immensely — is posting video interviews with the blogerati of the Supernnova 2005 conference. It is being referred to as “blogcasting”:

Blogcasting is a new program being launched at this year’s Conference, that offers a video-based online blog format with a twist. It will feature hosted interviews with speakers and key conference participants as well ad hoc commentary from our attendees. Our Conference commentator, David Weinberger – popular industry analyst, writer and blogger – will interview panel moderators as well as approach session attendees; distilling the key points, asking the questions on viewers’ minds and pursuing the controversial topics. Informal, lively, entertaining and opinionated, Blogcasting will allow our attendees and virtual online viewers to connect to the life stream of the conference.

And what is there is a great collection of video interviews with many famous net folks, household names if you will, laid out on a web page, were you can click and watch the interviews. And the “blog” part is (I guess) that each clip has a link to add comments (out of 24 total videos, there is a grand total of 2 comments) and each one has a Trackback (which most people do not believe in any more). The clips are not time/date stamped, so it’s not necessarily a reverse chronological format.


I would guess the “Xcast” where x= pod, video etc means that what is “innovative” is that the RSS feed describes/links the media references as RSS enclosures. Yes, on a theoretical level and maybe in the future, one might “subscribe” to a feed that might regularly download video content to some player. Maybe the future TV/Tivo will do that (what Tivo already does).

My nagging question, is just who is going to want to “subscribe” to all of these video interviews? Is there a value in getting regular updates? When I chose to subscribe to something be it an RSS feed from a web log or a subscription to Dow World Magazine, it means I want to regularly consume most of the content that comes on some periodic basis. Despite hearing some fabulous mp3/podcasts I cannot say I have found a podcast feed where I would want to regularly download and listen to the stuff. I’d be tossing or ignoring more than I would access.

The other thing is the nature of this blogcast content. These are deeply interesting people with deeply interesting things to say. However, is there truly a large value added in watching people talk? Once getting past the curiosity of seeing what the Long Tail guy looks like or learning how Sue became Suw, what we get is nothing that is more rich in information than the audio alone with a snap shot image.

What would be worthy of the medium is current news we cannot get to, e.g. news coverage of natural disasters, war, physical achievements, places we cannot visit like inside nuclear reactors, a research station in Antarctica, or something where the moving imagery and sound are central to communication the message.

Sticking video clips on a page has gone on for years. Tying it to an RSS feed is down there in the tenths of hundredths decimal place of Internet 2.xxxx. Watching people talk is not something I find revolutionary. I can go to any public place and observe that.

I would love to be wrong. And many of you think I am. Fine. It is waaaaaaaaaaay too early to be predicting that vidcasting. videoblogging, blahcasting has a grand or zero future. If I wrote of the web based on the text based linkage of physics documents I saw in 1992, I might be a board member of the Flat Earth society.

But we need to be asking critical questions before lathering up in drool and excitement over new technology. And we also need to let it evolve. I’ll take video content when the content merits and benefits from the video format.

Okay, launch the rotten tomatoes my way.

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An early 90s builder of web stuff and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person. And he is 100% into the Fediverse (or tells himself so) Tooting as


  1. If you look at the history of media’s progression (print, voice, picture, interactive), I think those people proselytizing on vlogging or vidblogging are just banking on that progression to be cyclical. On other words, first we had blogs, now podcasts are all the rage. It’s only a matter of time in their eyes before vlogging is the haute flavor, which means interactive collaborative vlogging is the only thing left to explore 🙂

  2. As someone who is going to embark on a series of video interviews I have much the same reservations – but perhaps these are of more use in training/ archival/ dissemination purposes where visual content is more compelling – I am thinking of conferences or professioanl developement or meetings of like minded innovators. Certainly audio is more down and dirty and may take less post production too…

  3. I’m big into video but in order to create compelling video blogs, requires way more time to produce than it’s worth. Talking heads aren’t interesting. We like blogs and podcasts because we can consume them quickly. Podcasting is likely going to last longer because of its mobility. I walk everyday, people are in vehicles everyday, those are the places that podcasts thrive.

  4. Things that are useful become popular (imagine that), and I agree that watching someone speak may have very little value over hearing them speak. On my satellite TV feed they actually have a sports radio call-in show on as a half-hour TV broadcast, and it’s mind-numbingly boring (in my humble opinion).

    I’ve just started my own vidcast for educators wishing to enhance student learning across all subject areas with technology, and on it I showcase websites, project ideas, article reviews, tutorials, etc. As the viewership grows (if it grows), I want to take content submissions from other teachers in the form of text, audio, video, screen caps, photos, etc. and built it into show content. That way it wouldn’t be the ‘Danny Maas Show’ but would be a collective effort of the collective intelligence of the educational community. So while watching me speak would admittedly be a slow and painful death I’m sure, having a related visual to go along with the audio might actually be useful. At least I’m hoping it is. Video killed the radio star, but only because the video enriched and enhanced the message.

    I won’t give the url to my vidcast because I’m not trying to plug it here – just offering a possibility for where this form of communication might be useful.

  5. I partly agree Alan … whether vodcasting (I’m not sure about videoblogging though) will take off will depend very much, as you say, on the added value. I felt that added value when doing the digital storytelling workshop run by Joe Lambert and Emily Paulos from the Center for Digital Storytelling

    But while I download and listen to podcasts with interviews of people at conferences on their take aways … a video interview of the same thing does not add any value … only unwanted extra bandwidth in the download.

    On the other hand, I listened to the audio of Julie Leung’s presentation at Gnomedex and oh so much wanted the video as she was not using ppt but pics to ‘mark’ the points she was making (either to reinforce or a counter point to the verbal message) … so this would have been real added value to the message (a ppt of the text I think I could take or leave.

    So for me vid/vodcasting will only take off if we exploit the value-added of the medium … and not just exploit bandwidth!

  6. An aside which may be of interest to people here … I discovered last night that the recently released version of iTunes (4.9) would download video automatically as an RSS enclosure and play it within the area that normally is used for the album cover image (or the image for a podcast) … so I suspect the next gen of iPods will deal with video/vodcasting.

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