One-way ticket to noo-TV

30 March 2007

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.


Hey Chris

Your comment about people not really using video in its full capacity was right on. I think that is just the nature of user-generated content, which could also be called amateur-generated content. (Shelly Palmer had a pretty harsh review of some UGC lately.)

Personally, I'm a little tired of it, and eager to see some quality Internet Television.


Funny how things are in the air. When Loren Feldman was added to the mesh conference agenda late last week (, I had a look at some of his videos. I thought much the same things as you've written here.

And despite being very short, didn't "But if you keep blogging you will at least get on the A-list" seem to go on forever?

Recently I organized a very successful audio webcast of a prominent economist who was the keynote speaker at a February conference (live listeners plus registrants to the archived version have now surpassed attendance of the in-house capacity crowd). Anyhow, my webcast producer (it was outsourced to a newswire company) is very impressed at how many registrants we've had...other than ones produced by large corporations, we've probably set a new record. I was asking him what percentage of audiences chose video webcasts over audio. He claimed it was very small: only about five per cent. It seems the majority of people are prepared to listen to a webcast of a session, but they are less enamoured about staring at a computer screen to watch a relatively static shot of someone at the podium.