Aug 16 2009
I just bought a webcam, but I’m ambivalent about using it here. Would it be helpful if I supplemented our usual lineup of written advice and reviews with some webcast material? Or would it feel like a gimmick?
Here are some of the factors I’m considering. What do you think?
1. The visual element can provide a solid opportunity for style and personality. For example, Angry Nintendo Nerd’s rants and Ask Prudie’s etiquette advice both use the author’s presence to create flair. However, quite a few webcasters waste that opportunity by dully reading a script. What’s the point? I wouldn’t subject my readers to something that’s slower and more complicated unless I was confident that I had the style to make it work.
2. Webcasting generally strikes me as more entertaining but less informative than pure text. For one thing, it’s harder for readers to follow a video at their own pace and it’s easier to misconstrue something that is spoken rather than written. However, university classes about fiction writing often involve a lot of oral instruction. So I think something like a video-lecture is plausible.
3. It takes a viewer more time to watch a video than to read a comparable article. I’d compensate for that by posting the transcript for each webcast.
4. Would it feel creepy or professional? Personally, I find it a bit unsettling when bloggers get more personal than they need to. However, if the site is professional to begin with, I think that a visible author enjoys more credibility. For example, I feel that Chris Garrett’s prominent picture on his new media site helps reinforce that he’s a real professional rather than someone invisible. Professional journalists also tend to provide pictures.
5. It’s a chance to practice my public speaking skills. Webcasting seems like a fairly effective way to show publishers that I can handle promotional events. I think that it’ll help round out my authorial bio.