Video Tutorials Seen As Harmful

There’s something that disturbs me about how people share information on the Internet — video. Particularly narrative ‘how-to’ type videos.

1. Low content per time invested — I’m not the fastest reader on earth, but for most videos, every ten minutes of video contains the same amount of information as a written presentation that would take me a minute or two to read.

And that’s not even considering the fact that no one makes a video without putting 2 minutes of useless introductory material at the front of it. Get to the point!

2. Video ties up your computer. I know you can have more than one window open, but in particular tutorials about music software make it difficult. If you have the video playing and your program open the audio output of the video will clash with your software, and you have to flip between windows.

3. I hate giving up control over pacing. If I’m reading something, I can skim through several paragraphs, stop and do something, slowly read through the tough parts, etc. With video, you have pause, and if you’re following a tutorial, you have to switch windows to pause, and end up fiddling with the transport a lot.

4. Laziness. Someone can have a general idea of what they want to do and start recording video, but they don’t have a script. You get some extemporaneous, diffuse description, parenthetical digressions, and plenty of ‘um’ and ‘uh’.

I am much more impressed by someone who WRITES IT DOWN, and then edits what they wrote to keep it focused and clear. It may well be that there are true artists of the instructional video in the world, but I am tired of people who make videos because they don’t want to put effort into consciously constructing what they want to communicate.

And this is not limited to amateurs. A lot of the professionally produced tutorial videos are no better.

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One Response to Video Tutorials Seen As Harmful

  1. richdrich says:

    And you can’t cut and paste.

    I assume video tutorials are popular with people who can’t read, but wouldn’t that limit ones ability to do any programming at all?

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