Video, audio, and text

People who would have been writing blogs a decade ago seem to be making YouTube channels these days. Justin Kan of Twitch is a relatively new example example (although, arguably, a co-founder of Twitch never would have been blogging), and so is Garry Tan.

Vlogging is not new, but I think something has changed in the past few years.

We have been given new software that make audio and video editing more accessible. I’m thinking of everything from Open Broadcaster Software to Descript. Talking is so much more natural a way for people to communicate than writing. So I think the explosion in people sharing their stories by talking is going to be something like 10x what we’ve seen for blogging.

The pandemic has made sure that everyone has a usable video camera in their house, hooked up to their computer, and they know how to use it. Probably something like 10% of us have bought a separate microphone for better audio quality. So the tools are at hand.

Over the past five years, I have gradually moved from listening to podcasts on Apple Podcasts to “watching shows” on YouTube. I still have one or two podcasts that really are audio-only that I listen to on my phone, but they’re the exception now not the rule. I have the option to listen to something on YouTube, but I don’t have the option to watch an audio-only podcast.

Taken together, I think the internet is moving slowly from text to video.

Text is not going to go away, and neither is audio. Clubhouse is the world’s first successful audio-only internet experience for the public. But humans love to see each other and talk to each other and tell stories. And that’s going to mean more and more video as a default way to say whatever you want to say.