With our slowly improving Internet connection, I have been able in recent weeks to view some videos. They grind their way onto my machine at a dead slow pace, but if I wait a couple of minutes, enough of a video can come in so I get the gist of what it’s about. I know I’m swimming against the current here, but it seems to me the current craze for video is much exaggerated.
There have been only some film clips that have held my attention for as long as 5-10 minutes. A few I have even passed on, like the one I shared on Facebook yesterday.
Most, though, lose my attention in pretty short order. Particularly bad on this score are instructional videos.
What is the reason for this failure to engage me in this latest, hottest digital technology?
All the wasted time spent getting to the valuable information!
Let me give you an example. The first time I tried to make an instructional video (without help as I live in the bush), I found myself filming my sewing machine needle going up and down as the fabric slowly moved into the stitching area. I ask you–how exciting and informative is that, how much of that would you want to watch?!
Being an online teacher myself, I’m taking a couple of online classes to round out my interests. I won’t say where because I don’t want to slam the people who are working so hard to do what is already and surely will increase to be a great thing. Also, the classes I’m taking are free so the outfit deserves a real pat on the head.
The lessons are available as video lectures, but they have been transcribed into text for those of us who lack the resources to download the videos. I find it amazing that the teachers can spend 15-20 minutes of video time to say only one or two important things. A week’s worth of lessons, perhaps up to three hours of video time, could potentially be condensed into 10 minutes of solid point-by-point discourse.
Why would I want to waste so much of my time watching the videos, when I can download, skim and find the information I want in a fraction of the time? Can it be that we, as people, are so collectively lonely that video, much like television, brings an essence of one or more warm-blooded individuals into our lives and that’s the real appeal? Or are we merely responding to the movements of color and sound in an otherwise boringly static environment? Or are we being directed into this behavior by “the system” that stands to benefit most from our participation (big business)?
In my business, video is all the current rage because artists are lovers of the visual world, sensitives to the interplay of light and color all around us. Seeing art come to life in video has great visual appeal, I must admit, but many of the instructional videos available now waste more of our work time than is necessary. Some artists claim they cannot read and learn; they must see and learn. I’m all in favor of that, but there’s another argument at work: DO and learn. Get enough information from your chosen source (text or video) to grasp the concept being conveyed, and then spend your valuable time DOING what it is you have understood. Mere watching, especially watching all the fluffy bits, will teach you very little!
Let go the notion that the first time you attempt a new task, you must do it perfectly and the result must demonstrate mastery of the challenge. Only jump in with both feet and make huge mistakes. If you do not make mistakes, you will never learn! If you do not make mistakes, it’s because you already know whatever it takes to succeed. You will be at the end of your goal, and the life in the process will be finished. You will have killed that challenge and taken away all the fun of learning about it. You will have, then, to move on to something else, something new.
It would be my hope that in a fairly short while those who are producing videos will learn the fine art of editing, distilling the videos down to exclude all the extraneous chatter and noise, the “um’s” and “uh’s” and the “you know’s” and get to the heart of the subject faster. I also hope that those who find such pleasure in watching the videos will exercise their right to switch off and get to work by granting their brains precedence over their eyes!