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Why the Dislike for Vlogs?

I was a little surprised by the response to my last post in which I solicited reader questions using a video blog (vlog). The comments drifted away from reader questions into opinions about vlogs and why people do or don’t like them.


Here I thought that vlogging was just another tool in the social media arsenal, only to discover that there’s anti-vloggers.

It reminded me of when I used to rail against Twitter.

One commenter summed up the anti-vlog sentiment by simply saying, “I don’t do vlogs.” I had to check to make sure I wasn’t talking about smoking chronic, watching internet porn, or human trafficking. I “don’t do” those things either. But vlogs? Eh.

Anyway, it was a minor revelation. I used to think the dislike of vlogs was mainly on the blogger’s end, not the reader’s (or viewer’s). I mean, making a vlog requires certain technical skills, equipment, and software. It also involves time. Between scripting (if one does script), filming, uploading, editing, and embedding a finished product on a website, vlogging can be tedious and time-consuming. All that to say, I can understand why some bloggers would be reluctant to vlog.

What I don’t understand is why readers would be reluctant to view video blogs. Unless there is some kind of telepathic message being secretly transmitted through your computer screen, what’s the issue?

  • It’s a video.
  • It’s a video of someone talking.
  • It’s a video of someone you probably read, talking.
  • It’s a video of someone you probably read talking about something you might be interested in.

Sure. It might be a vlog from someone you don’t read, whom you’ve never heard of, talking about something you don’t give a rip about (or doing something exotic like seeing how many pool balls they can insert in their mouth). But last I checked, you’re free to watch as long or as little as you like.

Either way, it’s not the medium that’s the issue.

I’m assuming that readers — as in “those who prefer written stuff” — still watch TV, movies, or an occasional video podcast. So unless one is a Luddite, what good reason is there to dislike vlogs?

Like a lot of things that come through the interweb, it can turn faddish and be used poorly. I mean, just because you have a webcam and a guitar is not a good reason to vlog. And just because other people are vlogging is not a good reason to do it either.

But simply “being a reader” is not a good reason to not “do vlogs.”

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{ 51 comments… add one }
  • Michael Trimmer (@MichaelSTrimmer) September 14, 2011, 5:48 PM

    So to continue the point to this specificly, Mike. Keep it up, and for some inspiration, try the VlogBrothers for size.

  • Bob Avey September 14, 2011, 7:51 PM

    I thought your vlog was kind of cool. You have great content on your blog. Perhaps you could use the vlog to expand on certain issues.

  • Tim George September 15, 2011, 11:32 AM

    Since I am too busy to read all these comments I’ll just cut to the chase. 🙂 Some of us may not like vlogs but a lot of other potential readers and followers do! The Google spiders love YoutTube and videos have a way of going viral like no other medium. An unpublished author friend of mine in Idaho made a crazy video about the trials of being a writer. It has popped up on more sites than I can count since it was first posted.

  • Carradee September 16, 2011, 7:27 PM

    Actually, I don’t even own a TV. :-p I rarely watch movies or TV shows online. I have to really want to see something to put up with a video.

    I’m a visual learner from monochromatic words. Once you add color in there, my comprehension drops. And I’m not an audio learner whatsoever. A vlog requires me to learn by audio and to watch a colored picture.

    It’s far more difficult for me to comprehend than basic text.

    • Virginia Ripple October 1, 2011, 7:25 AM

      I, too, am a visual learner. While I enjoy movies and TV shows, I have a difficult time remembering anything from them. It’s the same thing with sermons. I enjoy hearing them, but often have to think hard later to remember what the point was.

      Joanna Penn, and several others who do vlogs regularly, summarize the video in writing for those of us who prefer reading to watching. I think that’s great, especially since I most often read blog posts during the slow times at my day job where watching a video would be inappropriate.

  • Alan O September 17, 2011, 5:04 AM

    Very late to the party, here…but I think all of these comments are fascinating.

    I pass on most vlogs for the primary reason that vlogs emphasize extraneous (to me) elements. While the written word (blogs and blog comments) can never be divorced entirely from style & voice, it is mainly about *content.* Do I agree or disagree with the thought expressed? Does it ring true? Did I learn something, or become inspired by the truth embodied in someone’s statement? Written communication has a certain “purity,” where (almost) everything but the message itself has been stripped away. Nothing else matters.

    With a vlog (and with other, “richer” modes of communication) you’re introducing a host of cues which complicate the picture: Physical appearance/attraction; fluency; formality/informality; attempted humor; voice tone & quality; charisma; etc….

    I tend to be put off by those who attempt to influence others through their “personality”…and more attracted to solid reasoning and thoughtful commentary (even if I disagree with the conclusions). So I’d rather focus on the core of a person’s message instead of their hairstyle, or their fashion sense, or whether they are “perky” on camera.

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