Just say “no” to video blogs

May 2, 2015

When willreality killthe vlog_Admit it. You’ve clicked on cute dog videos. Or funny cat videos. I know you have.  Me, too.

But what about the preponderance of video blogs?  I just encountered one–it had info I would love to know–but I don’t want to sit through 10  minutes. I want to scan written copy, instead. It’s faster. More efficient.

This year, I’ve seen more and more video blogs–vlogs–lately and I have to wonder who is watching them.

I am not one of them.

Oh, I know someone MUST be, but where do they find the time? That’s a serious question. American productivity must be at new lows.

I’m resurrecting a post from last year on why people don’t watch video blogs. Or shouldn’t. Just say “no” to vlogs.

And since some of my readers are new to the blog and haven’t seen it, I’d love to get your comments on this post. It lays out three very big reasons why I don’t watch vlogs.

Yes, that link is live. And I’m still wondering: when will reality kill the vlog?

Thank you!

32 comments on “Just say “no” to video blogs
  1. I have the same question. I never watch vlogs. Much prefer the written word, but I think Carol – we’re in the minority since video is so popular!

  2. Sandy says:

    I agree, but for things like product reviews, videos are pretty useful! 😉

  3. Well, my fourth video blog is on my site today. We were all recently counseled in order to up our games with blogging, we needed to be on video. So I made an investment in the equipment and began. My audience seems to like them. They are pulling a lot of hits. I do like what I can do with them when I learn more. I will never give up the written word, because that is my strength. But, as with all things, if you don’t like the videos…don’t watch them. It is fun to get to know people on video and feel like you are spending time with them in a conversation. That is what I want mine to be is a continuing conversation.

    • You can have a conversation on skype, but not with a video. I find the comments I have on my blog become conversations as people share their thoughts and feelings about whatever the subject may be, and you can do it as time permits. Aside from the fact I don’t have time to get ‘camera ready’ for vlogging. Oh, if people could see me as I write…LOL!

  4. I agree with you Carol. I rarely watch a video and if I do…It better be very short!

  5. I never have the volume up on my computer unless it’s intentional to watch or listen to something I’m interested in, and I work at home…alone. I find the videos that automatically play on fb when you scroll by them are invasive and annoying. I wish I could stop them.
    I’ve worked with actors, comedians, and models over the years and they have a need to be ‘on’. I do not. And, unless it’s someone I really want to see or a subject I feel only they can teach me, I’m not turning up my volume.
    Thank you for broaching this subject!!

  6. To answer your question: I watch a good number of vlogs.

    I cancelled cable ten years ago. I was paying $120/month for something like 80 channels…of which I watched a grand total of 8. Ever. So I ditched it. I have never regretted it. YouTube, Hulu, and NetFlix are my (video) entertainment. Mostly YouTube. The difference between YouTube and TV is that on YouTube, I can interact with the person on the screen. They are real people. Some of the vlogs are scripted, some are not. Some of them are entertaining, some are thought-provoking. Some are educational, some are pure fluff.

    I also watch a lot of purely educational stuff on YouTube (Veritasium, SciShow, AnimalWondersMontana, Crash Course). And musicians (Walk Off the Earth, Pomplamoose, Pentatonix). And other things (Matthew Santoro, Sup3rFruit, VSauce) that defy categorization. 🙂

    Most successful vloggers keep their videos short. Their core demographic tends young, and teens tend not to have a long attention span. Between 4 and 8 minutes; certainly less than 10. A few go as high as 20 minutes, but those are the kind where you’re only watching THAT person or family (The Nive Nulls is a good example). Most of them aren’t daily vlogs — they post weekly or biweekly, or even “periodically.” A good number of vloggers also have second channels for things like gaming (where you watch their screen as they play a video game). I avoid those.

    Where do I find the time? I spend the time I would have spent flipping channels on the TV. Or listening to the radio. Or playing video games. I do none of that, so I have the time. I still make time to read, write, and do other things because I don’t let the entertainment take over my life (Babylon 5 is no longer on the air, so there’s no reason to plan my ENTIRE LIFE around a TV show). I decide when and how much I want to watch. Think of it as the ultimate TiVo (if that even still exists), but each show is compressed into just a few minutes, and there are few to no commercials. (Adblockers help on that last part.)

    Not every vlog(ger) is vacuous. Some are, sure. For instance, I think Grace Helbig’s vlog, for all HER intelligence, humor, and talent, is about as deep as an oil slick. Although I watch Colleen Ballinger’s vlog, her alter ego Miranda Sings makes me want to claw my eyes out. So I avoid Miranda. i.e., I either never start watching those people, or I quickly realize it’s a waste of my time and move on.

    But I guess the point is that what’s vacuous to me might be riveting to you, and vice versa. There is one guy on YouTube who sits (or used to sit; I don’t know if he’s still active) on video smoking a full pipe, never saying a word. There is a whole CATEGORY of makeup and beauty vlogs that review products and demonstrate techniques.

    And people watch that stuff. I’ll never get it, but hey, whatever cranks your tractor. 🙂

    According to YouTube, I’m subscribed to 38 vlog channels. That number goes up and down as I try and/or ditch channels. I watch and am entertained by YouTube far more than I ever was by the 80 channels on TV and ads every 10 minutes for products I will never buy.

  7. I watch some vlogs with my teen girl who loves Miranda Sings. And I’ve watched a few short videos posted on blogs about stroke prevention and such because they had compelling animation of the physiology. But in general, I prefer text. Watching the news makes me NUTS (only when stuck in a doctor’s office or an air terminal). I have a Twitter list with over 80 news sources (national / international), so I much prefer skimming headlines there and clicking through when I want to dig deeper.

  8. Laurel Regan says:

    I won’t watch a vlog if it’s just a blogger talking – I’m with you in that I’d rather read the words (and thankfully many vloggers do include a text summary of what’s in their video for those who share the same preference!). I do appreciate vlogs when they involve an active visual component, though – for example, cooking or craft demonstrations. There I think the post content can be taken to a new level.

    • Yes, true. However, I have seen a few beauty vloggers who waste the first five to seven minutes babbling about nothing. Usually, they are on the younger side…I guess they still think every word they speak is a pearl!

  9. Diane says:

    Give me print!!!

  10. Lisa says:

    I like vlogs that are embeded in blogs. It’s the best of both worlds 🙂

  11. Sue Ellam says:

    Hi Carol – I’ve read your blogs for a while, but haven’t commented as yet.

    This is an interesting one. I have a FB page ahead of the imminent launch of my website and I’ve interestingly discovered that people watch many more videos than they do read text.

    I am a blogger and love the written word, but I also watch a lot of video too. I think that vlogs are very much like short skirts – not everyone should wear them! 🙂

    For instance, I have read articles by someone for quite a while and then she started a vlog – unfortunately, I found her so irritating that I switched off. However, I am sure that many other people will watch her and she won’t have the same effect on them. She still writes good articles and I will keep reading.

    I think that the main problem with vlogs is that most people just switch on their webcams and start talking, with no thought having gone into content and they just ramble along ad infinitum. It’s almost as though they are talking to themselves with no thought for the listener. I think they are a valuable tool to really get to know who someone is, which people like, but I do think that they need to be structured, to the point and short to be of value.

    Have a great weekend 🙂


    • Hi Sue! Welcome to comments! Glad you are adding to the discussion. You do raise good points. I think you are so right about not thinking through content and getting to the point. I wouldn’t mind a well-structured vlog like that. AT the same time, I much prefer text. I’ll bet it is generational.

      • Sue Ellam says:

        Hi Carol – thanks for the welcome. 🙂

        You could be right about it being generational, as I’m of the same generation as yourself. Reading something that also doesn’t get to the point is more quickly scanned and the relevant bits found, than listening to a video where you don’t know what’s coming next.

        I think the people who also add a transcript have the right idea.

        I do think that video is a very powerful communication tool though. For instance, TED Talks – there is nothing quite as powerful as watching someone talking who is passionate about what they do and believe. That doesn’t always come across in text.

  12. I hate video. Well, not entirely. But recently had to get up to speed fast on some new software and the help was all video tutorials forcing me to wade through 10 minutes of instruction to get the nugget of information I needed. Occasionally I’d get a useful bit that I wasn’t looking for. But mostly it was slogging and really frustrating when I only had so much time and was wasting it on info I didn’t need.

  13. I hope vlogs are a trend that have come and go without my having to get involved. I have no patience to watch them and even less patience to actually make one!

  14. I’m so glad I’m not the only one. If I have to watch one more uncomfortably slow “unboxing” video, I’ll cry. I have zero interest in watching someone stare into the camera and report in a monotone voice what’s in this latest box. lol “Video Killed the Radio Star” so I’m hoping something will come about that will tackle the V-logger. LOL

  15. The only video blog posts I like (and do) are reviews. You get a better idea of what a product is really like in video. If it’s thoughtful ponderings or advice or such, I never, ever watch them. Written word rules in most cases.

  16. I have been blogging since 2008. I have only done a handful of video’s. They are just not my thing. Some bloggers are great at it, not me.

  17. I hear you, Carol, but I fear this is where our age is a factor. The Kids (!) find it easier to watch a video because they can do it while multi multi multi tasking. Real reading take a different kind of brain power than listening does.

  18. Lux Ganzon says:

    I can’t see myself doing a vlog anytime soon too. Video blogs that are tutorials (like how to apply make up for instance) is better as I need to see it step by step for me to fully understand, but watching a person talk about their opinion over something is also not my thing. 😛

  19. WendysHat says:

    I am visual so I would rather watch than listen to a pod cast or something else. I agree with you but can also see where video helps in how to do some things. But listening to someone just chat for even 10 minutes sounds dreadful to me.

  20. Estelle says:

    I do video blogs as interviews with some prominent authors and bloggers and they are one of the most popular features on my blog. I do know what you mean–not everyone is cut out for video.

  21. I have been blogging for a few years and the most I have done are ‘blogfomercials’…a term I invented that basically uses snippets of my posts to advertise on instagram. But I haven’t gone to the VLOG route yet. But I have seen good ones out there and I am challenged to come up with something good as well. We’ll see.

  22. I enjoy podcasts…I like to listen to inspirational talks before I get up in the morning or as I am going to sleep. But my parameters are narrow…vlogs seem important to my children’s age…they love the couple who just blog their lives on video. Seems useless to me…and I notice they have a limited shelf life. But what do I know?

  23. Lana says:

    I really appreciate your perspective on this Carol. I’ve read a lot lately about vlogging being the future of blogging, and “I’d best get on board”. I’ve watched a few that interest me, but I have zero interest in doing it myself.

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