Web video producer Loren Feldman's feels that, when it comes to the moving image, Jeff Jarvis's tanks are on the wrong lawn. They're generally on someone else's lawn, and recently it's been video's turn. There's only one problem with Feldman's approach. Actually there are two: Feldman's ranting style makes you start to feel he's being a bit hard on Jarvis, who is only one of many who seem to think the Internet magically transformed video into some new art form in much the same way that Web 2.0 fanboys somehow believe that putting comment forms on websites instantly transforms people into models of behaviour and etiquette.
But back to point one. If you're running a video company, I'd have thought you'd want to spend more time with, well...the video. The problem I have with video diaries or video responses is that they are really radio with moving pictures. It might as well be a podcast because everyone doing this stuff is not taking full advantage of the medium. It's not a big deal but a little jarring when someone is sounding off about another commentator's lack of understanding of video. The "um, well, um, (sniff) I have to comment on..." intro of many of these responses - Feldman's not the only one - also quickly become an irritant. Say your piece, get on with it. We know what the form is.
That said, the line about how it doesn't take a pile of conferences to work out what's wanted from video - "make interesting shit that people want to look at" - is worth the price of admission alone. I watch and read almost open-mouthed as self-appointed experts wibble on about how Internet video is a new medium and how different it is from TV. Yes, it's different from TV. But it's almost indistinguishable in most usage from a personal video recorder. You can't make video interactive just by playing it on the Internet. It remains stubbornly linear whatever you do with it.
OK, I can comment on it on a website that hosts the video. Or maybe some other website. But I can no more influence the video than I can a broadcast transmission, short of breaking into the studio and messing with the U-matic. Sticking my head out of the window and bellowing, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore", will not cause the video stream to take a sudden new direction.
But there is nothing wrong with monologues if done well. We don't need to ram interactivity into everything. But if you keep blogging you will at least get on the A-list.