Monday, December 17, 2007

Video is poor media - until it loses TV envy

Jeff Jarvis shares his thoughts on extreme story-telling and well worth a read they are, too. But the part of his post that made me pause for thought was this:

"So far, video is being used online mostly to tell a complete story: here’s the story in text, there’s the story in video (or there’s a slideshow or a podcast or a Flash thingie). The video is almost always a packaged piece, self-standing. It wants to be television."

And that is a problem - and a waste - in a networked world. Video in this TV-envy form is for passive consumption. But the networked world is about participation and the co-creation of value.

Jeff points us to prezvid for an example of a more mashed-up approach.

The video efforts of so many default centre-out sites cling to the mantra of video as 'rich media' while missing out on the value-creating truth of the networked world - where media really gets 'rich'.

In order to make the most of the networked value of video we really need a new set of tools, tools which lower the technical barriers so everyone on the network can participate with the same ease with which they can post text or a link.

On a blog or a forum, pretty much anyone who can read the content can engage with it. Don't like what I've written - you can post a comment. Think there's another angle to explore? You can post a link etc etc. There is little in the way of technical barrier preventing you from joining in the conversation.

But if I post a video... well you can respond with a comment, or a link (at least, you can on a blog). So I offer rich media, you get to respond with text. Many sites don't even offer that, not even an opportunity to rate what you've just watched, either.

Wouldn't it be better if you could:

1. At least rate and comment on any video content (an absolutely minimum requirement).
2. Insert your comments as text overlaying the video at the point they were relevant (subtitles if you like).
3. Add your comments as video at any point you choose (upload a quick clip from your phone or webcam)
4. Insert other peoples videos to make their or your point
5. Add an image, or draw a picture, if that's the way you prefer to 'talk'.
6. Change the soundtrack to one of your own devising.
7. Connect to discuss in real time with other (like-minded) people watching it right now (youtube offers this without the brackets...)
8. Some other cool stuff you've just thought of (post as a comment!)
9. Save it all as your own version to post or share as and where you wish.

All this requires is the lowering of technical barriers. Some new tools. And if you know where they are already available or coming soon, please share.

The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?