Lower Barriers to Video Interaction Isn’t Enough
While my last post on the subject got some attention, there is an important point that I forgot to mention–even if the barriers to video interaction were lower, that doesn't mean people will necessarily use video in their interactions on the Internet.
When video is used to deliver a message, it crosses an important threshold. It makes the message delivered more personal. It adds a ton of context to the message–context some people may not want to deliver. Through your voice, your surroundings, your word choice, and any number of things that you can only pick up with an audio/visual delivery, you communicate a lot things about yourself that you might not want to communicate.
There's a whole lot of people on the Internet who would rather remain anonymous. They may have any number of reasons for wanting to retain anonymity. Certainly there are ways in video to mitigate disclosure, but it's a heck of a lot easier to just stick to written words and avoid the audio/visual communication.
The other important thing about any communication mechanism, whether it be video, audio, text, or anything else, boils down to two questions: what do you have to say, and what is the most effective way to communicate that message? For some things, text is it. For other things, a voice communication will suffice. Sometimes, you need the full audio/visual Monty.
Unfortunately, there's three things technology can't help with: coming up with something to say, camera shyness, and time. Clearly us bloggers have no trouble coming up with something to say. Finding something to say where video makes sense or adds value above and beyond text or audio is a completely different issue. Camera shyness is a psychological thing. As far as time goes, there is currently some additional overhead when it comes to doing video. Hopefully as the tools become more ubiquitous and easier to use, along with higher speed delivery networks and faster computers, this overhead reduces substantially.