January 29, 2011

Why I prefer text over video

Video is the new black online. Don’t write, record or livestream, says some, while others add that moving images convey so much more than words can. I agree, video is great, and someone half decent at talking and presenting will get a lot more through in mere minutes than could be done with text in the same amount of time.

But I still prefer text over video. Almost every time.

It’s not that I don’t think video works, it’s what it forces from me. I can’t easily save a link for offline viewing later, like I do with interesting reads using Instapaper, and I can’t watch video in bed without headphones. Video demands more focus, multitasking is out of the question if you want to take in the information presented in a video.

In that sense audio is more attuned to how I work, but I’m afraid I can’t have a podcast rolling the background either. Some people can, my head doesn’t work that way.

There are other reasons I prefer text over video, for example:

  • You can’t glance through a video, the pace is set.
  • When I know the topic I can skim text detailing the background and get to the point which interests me sooner, with video – again – the pace is set.
  • Streaming video can be a nuisance, text is just text and works all the time.
  • Text doesn’t disturb the people around you, video is rarely good without sound.

Video has its uses, I watch a lot of trailers, TV shows and stuff like that, but can’t be bothered with livestreams for example, unless it is something I’m really interested in. I just prefer text, is all. It’s more convenient.

That’s something to consider when you want to get your message across. Video can be a great tool, but if you rely solely on it you’re definitely missing some opportunities of telling your story. The same can obviously be applied to text and audio as well, a combination is without a doubt best.

Thoughts? Let @tdh know on Twitter, or find me elsewhere. There is also a newsletter.