I get the appeal. You can listen to or watch your favorite people talk about or demonstrate topics that interest you at times that are convenient for you. That’s cool.
Here’s the deal: even though I think these are a pretty neat idea, I almost never listen to or view them.
Well, I suppose part of it could be that I am a very fast reader. I average two or three books a week, somewhere between 600 and 1500 pages. Some weeks I read more, a lot more. Other weeks I am involved in projects and am not able to read as much as I would prefer. Still, I’m not convinced this is the reason.
What I love about text is that I can scan it quickly. I can look for the parts that interest me. I can read and reread those parts over and over until I am satisfied. I am able to interact with the written word far more efficiently than I can the spoken word. I never feel like my time is being wasted, because I am in control over the pacing and what I absorb and when.
I would actually prefer to read the full text of a speech than I would enjoy listening to it, with a few rare exceptions. There are times, though, where I discover a text so compelling in its message and style that I can’t allow myself to skim, but I find that I must savor each and every word, every thought, every phrase.
Voice and video communications are capable of transferring some types of information much better than the written word. I love a quality film made by an artistic and talented director. There have been radio shows that have sent chills up and down my spine due to the writing and voice talent.
Sadly, it is an extremely rare podcast or video blog that doesn’t leave me feeling like my time would have been better spent just reading a transcript. I’ll admit, that’s why I rarely watch TV, never listen to talk radio, and do not often enjoy movies. I feel like my time is being wasted. If I am to sit at the mercy of a presenter of information with no real control over what I hear/view when (because there are not obvious road signs or maps likes tables of contents or indexes, and because I do not have an easy ability to skip what disinterests me and go directly to what fascinates me) then I want to be “sucked in,” so intrigued both by the message and the means by which the medium is conveying the message that I fail to notice the passage of time. A podcast or video blog like that would receive an instant-subscribe from me.