What if you don’t like video?

It seems that everyone loves video on the internet and it’s especially good for learning. But there are some that question it…

I’ll admit it. I’m not that much into video for learning. It’s annoyingly time consuming and often doesn’t hit the mark for what I need.

Back in November I did a very unscientific Twitter poll with, admittedly, just 44 votes. I asked “When doing a search for information or answers, do you prefer to consume video, audio, text or something else?”

The biggest vote, with 43 per cent, was for text. Video trailed behind with 30 per cent, just a bit better than the 27 per cent of people that selected “don’t have a preference”. I hadn’t included the option of “an image or graphic”, which was suggested in the tweets that followed.

One respondent, Gaelle Delmas-Watson, tweeted “if I run a search on the phone with the kids around, text is MUCH better”. John Couperthwaite stated, “I find it largely depends on the subject I am searching for, time available, the relevance and its attractiveness”. And Craig Taylor summarised it nicely with “it depends on the context”.


But video is so popular…

Online advertising firm WordStream shared that “more video content is uploaded in 30 days than the major U.S. television networks have created in 30 years”, which is a scary amount of viewing options in such a short time.

The same article estimates that “by 2019, internet video traffic will account for 80 per cent of all consumer Internet traffic.” In the research of this article, I had the opportunity to either watch a video of Mary Meeker’s 2017 internet trends report, or download the PDF to read. I went for the latter. This is due to context: I wanted to skip through a LOT of information to find if anything was relevant to me. I can’t easily do that on a video – though some platforms allow for playing double speed and others have bookmark type technology for interesting points.

Key point:
Know your audience and want they want. Offer content in more than one way if appropriate.


How long is too long?

One of the main reasons I don’t watch video is it takes just too long. I can scan a piece of text to find out the bit that I need, or if it’s the kind of article I’d like to read in full, long before some videos have finished their agonising opening sequence.

When I got the Lightbulb Moment video openers made, I made sure you got to the content within six seconds. That was long enough for a logo, to know what we do and a bit of audio pizzazz, but not enough to annoy or get in the way.

You need to research video length in more detail, to find out if the under two minute rule is best for your audience, or if “six to 12 minutes is [the] sweet spot” for you.

Key point:
If you are going to put a video online respect your viewers and get to the point.


Silence is golden

The second biggest reason I don’t engage with video when I’m learning is because it contains sound. It’s not as silly as that might read. If I’m on the train and don’t have my headset, I don’t want to broadcast to the whole carriage. If I’m doing something whilst others are around (for me, typically, it’s on the sofa in the evening whilst watching TV with the boyfriend), I don’t want it to disturb us.

I’m missing out. And I’m not alone

This means that for things like MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) or those lovely video nuggets that people share on social media, I’m missing out. And I’m not alone. Media and marketing company Digiday found that “as much as 85 per cent of video views happen with the sound off, according to multiple publishers.”

As long as you know how your audience is consuming your media, you can plan and adapt for it. This means editing your videos together to include captions or subtitles, so that people without the sound on can follow the video. To be honest, we should all be doing this anyway as part of making video accessible to all.

Key point:
Make sure your videos have subtitles so that all abilities and types of surfing will get your message.


Even if you are with me and not the biggest fan of video when it’s the wrong context, there are obviously millions and billions of people that embrace it. Not least are executives, as video marketing website tubular insights found “54 per cent saying they share videos with colleagues on at least a weekly basis”.

So perhaps it’s time to get my head out of the text and press that play button.


About the author

Jo is part-time Deputy Editor of TJ and also runs her virtual classroom and webinar train the trainer company. She offers free webinars at www.LightbulbMoment.info. You can contact her on Twitter @LightbulbJo and email Jo@LightbulbMoment.info


Read more about video

Read more about virtual classrooms from Jo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *