Inaugural Video Blog Post

I'm trying something new today: a video blog post. I recorded a five minute message and uploaded it to YouTube. Here's the link to the video on YouTube. I've also pasted it below though the embed version is less good because the width gets messed up. In it I talk about five upcoming blog posts I'm going to write / ideas I'm thinking about.

I'm doing this mainly to test the format of recording and uploading videos. Do you like this format? Should I do more? Quality seems ok though the colors faded a bit with my built-in camera.

27 Responses to Inaugural Video Blog Post

  1. Ben,

    I enjoyed the video format. I was scanning through the items in my RSS reader and stopped to watch it. Video made a nice break from reading words on a page and in some ways seems more personal — you get to hear a voice instead of read a voice.

    Conversational skills can be incredibly powerful. Lately, I’ve been learning by observing the ways different friends converse. One friend tells incredible stories, another friend goes into great deal critiquing any kind of media, and other friends communicate by discussing how something makes them feel.

    Conversations reveal a lot about a person’s personality and through conversation I find myself able to better understand myself.

    Thanks for the video and presenting something meaningful to think about and discuss.

  2. Vimeo provides better quality video, in case you wanted it.

  3. Missey E. says:

    your blog always made it sound you like were incredibly interesting. but i didn’t know you were so cute, too.

    more video and pictures!!

  4. Alex Vander Hoeven says:

    Ben,

    Liked the video, but prefer reading your posts for two reasons.

    1)I like your writing style, and enjoy reading it and learning from it. I find my writing has improved since I began tunning in about a year ago.

    2)This might be gross, but it’s honest. I usually read my RSS feeds on my mobile while on the can at work. And while I imagine there will be a day where broadcasting audio from personal devices in bathroom stalls will be normal, I don’t think we are there yet. I guess my point is if you want your posts to continue to reach bathroom readers, I think keeping the majority of them in writing is the best for now.

    There’s my feedback. Keep up the good work!

    AV

  5. Ben Casnocha says:

    Alex,

    Thanks for the kind words re: the writing. And on the bathroom readers.

    The last thing I want to do is alienate my bathroom readers.

    It is deeply humbling to be brought into such an intimate moment and I strive to make my content as compatible as possible with any and all activities that may be undertaken in conjunction with the blog reading experience. :)

  6. Ted says:

    On the issue of quickly figuring out who to spend time with:

    I think it’s interesting to realize that it’s a relatively new problem. When we lived in small groups (as hunter-gatherers, or in towns), we could just spend some time with everyone, and see how it felt. Now, with half the world’s population living in cities, there’s a new information problem.

    I think we have an evolved mechanism for quickly determining if someone new is threatening/creepy/etc, but we lack an inbuilt mechanism for knowing if they’re someone we should spend time with. That’s why it’s so fun think about — it’s a problem we face constantly to which there’s no inbuilt answer.

    Having a conversation is the most reliable method (for me, at least), but it’s too slow to use on a mass scale. I hate relying on stuff like clothing/mannerisms/etc but I don’t know of an alternative. Imagine though if walking down the street in NYC you could see 1 to 10 stars floating above everyone that indicated how good your conversation would be if you did both stop and have it. That’d be awesome.

    Also, sidenote: I’ve been reading your blog for a while and I’ve been tempted to comment before, but this is my first time. I doubt it’s a coincidence that it’s also your first video post — so perhaps video will have the effect of bringing your audience closer. At the same time though it’s annoying not to be able to skip/skim.

    Ted

  7. Ben Casnocha says:

    Ted,

    Great point that it’s a relatively recent problem. And yes the “1-10 stars floating above everyone’s head” would indeed be awesome!

  8. Sameer says:

    Ben,

    You write well, and most people read a lot faster than you can talk.

    Sameer

  9. Regarding Ted’s fantasy of 1 to 10 stars floating above everyone’s head:

    I’d prefer to have floating stars that indicated how good sex with an eligible party would be, and whether or not they had a communicable disease.

    Ben, what we see of your walls is completely bare. They need some artwork to inspire you. I have a magnificent piece in pen, ink, pencil and gold created by a very talented Porteño that would enliven them.

    I think intellectuals who don’t have a crush on you will prefer text posts, but the occasional video would be nice.

  10. Sameer says:

    Though I do feel like I know you better after having seen you talk… Maybe you should vlog sporadically?

    In general, I think the efficiency losses make vlogging a poor choice if you’re just going to be talking about the same thing you would have blogged about.

    The video format would probably be best suited to conversations (it sounds like you have a lot of interesting friends — perhaps you could even record a Junto session).

    Just my $0.02.

    Sameer

  11. Ben Casnocha says:

    Sameer – I agree that vlogging is best if it covers ground that won’t be covered by text. Will keep this in mind for next time.

    Vince – I’m always game to receive art to enliven walls. :)

  12. Ben,

    I’ll give you a good price.;-)

  13. Charlie says:

    Hey Ben,

    You might consider breaking down the video’s content by writing a little bit about it. Not like you’d transcribe the video, but just say what you talk about at certain points. For instance:

    0:37 – I talk about Subject A
    1:21 – I talk about Subject B

    That way, people can read that and fast forward to certain parts they might be interested in.

  14. Ted says:

    C’mon Vince, it’s harder to find a good friend than a good lay

    At least, for some of us…

  15. Krishna says:

    Hey Ben, there are enough people already losing jobs faster than you can count.

    While text does not ordinarily draw supervisor/peer attention and often quietly passes off as work, watching a video while at work is asking for the pink slip!

  16. Ben Casnocha says:

    Charlie, yes I will do that in the future. I’ve done that with some audio clips in the past.

    Krishna, take a lesson from the earlier commenter: watch the video in the bathroom on your mobile. :)

  17. I’m a huge fan of letting every media do what it does best. So text is better for explaining things in detail and structured. Video is better for personal issues and interviews.

    Nevertheless I enjoyed seeing to talking “to me”. This has definitely changed how I will read your blog posts in the future because now I got a picture in my head of you delivering them to me.

    Greetings from Germany

  18. Diogo says:

    I do agree with Sameer.
    Vlogging is interesting, but it suits different topics than writing.

    I am looking forward to continuing to read your texts, but don’t mind hearing you sometimes.

    Keep up the good work!

    Greetings from Portugal

  19. Flavio Rump says:

    The video box overlaps your content on the right in my FF3 / windows setup. (search box, signup per email etc)

    I prefer text, it’s much quicker/better to skim, it’s quotable, it’s probably better for search engines, you can link out to other people and you can give a thought or an essay a certain structure (like lists/paragraphs etc.) the reader can go back and reread something he doesn’t understand.

    From time to time it’s nice to have voice/video, but really the time investment grows strongly and I already found myself opening a new tab while having the video open. That might just be because I have ADD though ;)

  20. Anonymous says:

    That was fun

  21. Eric Shen says:

    Hi Ben,

    I like the video format because it shows a different side of you. i would like to see more videos of you in places other than your bed room haha! you can use any digital camera or even cellphone to record yourself in some kind of event, conference, or traveling. i think videos are great to capture how you feel at the moment in time, like right before you go on stage, or right after you finished reading a book. it can be a rich and spontaneous form of expression that’s is hard to achieve with writing. it also makes great connections with the readers.

    love your idea of being comfortable in own skin, and how to decide who to hangout with.

    Cheers!!

  22. Ted, you sound like my kind of guy. Maybe that’s the problem.;-)

  23. Martha Farag says:

    I liked the video blog, but I agree with others on why it should be used sparingly.

    However, video bloging about/during your travels, or on your travel blog, would be amazing.

    Martha

  24. Adam Toren says:

    Ben,

    Great Video Post!
    I enjoyed the overview of your upcoming blogging/vlogging posts and look forward to them.
    You touched on some very important details that many of your readers/viewers will most definitely enjoy.

    Thanks,

    Adam T.

  25. Dave Lahn says:

    I enjoyed the post. I agree with the commenter above – who said it would be interesting to see some conversations, some panels, via video.

  26. Audi says:

    The question about more efficiently figuring out who we would be compatible with is very interesting. I imagine a system like they use on Pandora’s Radio would work, where your person interests are matched with those of similar person interests, to extrapolate a new person you are likely to like. Frighteningly, everyone in the compatibility network would be earning a multi-dimensional score to determine their compatibility with others in the network. I strongly recommend these scores would be hidden from everyone but the program itself. Even if such scores are hidden, I’m glad such a thing is currently infeasible — as I could do a self-match and find I wouldn’t match with myself, which is what I’ve long suspected. (Yet it is normal to seek complementation in relationships — for an obvious example, narcissists wouldn’t want to hang out with each other, though non-narcissists may be drawn to them.)

  27. David Cohen says:

    Ben, I think occasional video posts are great, if they’re short like this one. it’s nice to have that personal connection to someone who is blogging,and just seeing and hearing you in your own words helps. Basically, it’s just good to see you (or whoever you’re reading) once in a while.

    So doing this once a year (or 4 times a year) is great. Any more, and it’s too hard (time consuming) to digest vs text.

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