This week’s earlier post on “Why do we Blog not Vlog?” brought about a range of interesting and informed responses including a few short videos on Vine, YouTube & Periscope. There’s lots of rich thinking there so please do go back and digest.
My overwhelming sense of the answer to my question is linked to comfort zones.
Rather than providing the channels that our audience would like to use or consume content through, we are potentially self-limited by what we ourselves are comfy with. We may rightly or wrongly relate this to our own familiarity, professional finish, strength of message, accuracy of delivery, accessibility or even generational differences. However, underlining each valid reason (or excuse) is a question of what we are comfy with rather than what our audience might find value in.
In fact, the more I think about the reasons, the less I actually believe them.
Familiarity with medium/channel
The ability to create audio, text or video content has never been so easy. Our lack of familiarity with using video isn’t really a good enough reason or barrier is it?
Professional finish / Strength of message
Maybe we are somewhat conditioned to expect video to be highly polished or at least on point and well presented. Yet many blogs I read are not of the quality or structure you would expect in a magazine article or newspaper and that’s just fine. In fact it’s this authentic and familiar writing that appeals in the ubiquity of carefully constructed copy. Why do we hold a high expectation for vlogging but not blogging?
Accuracy of delivery
There is indeed something about the carefully constructed copy that allows us to be very focussed on messages and the flow of a narrative. There is surely a place for this in all mediums. Yet I know many bloggers who write “in the moment” and it’s that authentic flow that can create really brilliant writing that connects deeply. In the context of flow it is familiarity of subject matter, passion and the removal of interference that I think creates these moments. Why can’t we do that on video also?
Even with 4G and WiFi almost everywhere there are times and places when we can’t or just don’t want to access content. Perhaps for some there is a meaningful limitation with video that needs streaming rather than a blog which can be grabbed quickly. Perhaps there are places where we want to read surreptitiously rather than listen and watch video in plain sight of others. In all of this, accessibility is a combination of facility, behaviour and preference. Vlogging may by nature have different accessibility parameters than blogging. With ever increasing facility, how are our attitudes, behaviours and preferences adjusting to what is possible and when?
The YouTube generation is pointed to fairly regularly. My own children consume far more casual yet informative broadcasts than they watch TV. They use YouTube way more than me. That speaks more of familiarity, comfort and where we find value than anything else. Where does our audience find value, feel familiar and comfortable? How are these assumed differences shifting and changing?
In the context of the broad leadership/talent/OD space that I positioned my inquiry, I find the reasons why we don’t vlog both unsurprising and potentially worrying because…
…if we are championing excellence in this sharing space then don’t we need to understand what channels our audiences appreciate?
…shouldn’t we be exploring the diversity and variety that is out there before blogging becomes the equivalent of “pale, male & stale”?
…what do we look like to those leaders and leaders of the future who are using a variety of channels already?
…what leadership do we need to show in this leadership/talent/OD space?
More questions as always and I recognise plenty of people are working across different mediums already. Many far more successfully than me. I’m just personally very aware that I need to watch that my comfort zones don’t limit me.
How about you?