I've been mulling the video blog debate that cropped up on techmeme this weekend. On the one hand, we have Brad Templeton saying "Please don't vlog". I like some of his points - it does take more time and attention to consume video (compared to text and audio). Podcasts can be listened to in the car or while exercising (i.e., during otherwise "dead time" when your eyes are busy). Video blogs require most of your attention though, and unless it's a screencast - i.e., something that's walking me through something I want to learn - I find little value add.
On the other hand, Scoble makes a few good points on the "picture is worth a 1000 words" side of the equation:
Here’s a test. Give me one minute of video or 10,000 words to explain to me what Halo 3 does. The video will beat the text every single time, even if you have a Pulitzer-prize winning author write the words.
That's true, but: most of the video blogs I've seen don't add any value in that direction over pure audio. Even many of Scoble's vlogs for channel 9, when he was at MS: more than once, I wanted him to put the damn camera down and have the tech person he was talking to switch over to screencast format (so that I could actually follow what what being demonstrated).
I have to say that there's kind of a continuum of technical skills required here - for text, you need to be able to convey your ideas clearly. You don't need a lot of graphical skills; even if your pages are horrible HTML, as long as your color choices aren't illegible, you can make your point. Audio podcasts are another step up, as I'm just learning now. The tools aren't that hard to use, but unless you have a studio handy, you need to be prepared to spend an hour or two (more when you first get started) cleaning up the audio, adding music, hacking out awkward pauses... it's a lot more work than editing text. If you save in mp3 format, you can figure on about 1 MB per minute, so the time to upload isn't too bad, and the storage requirements aren't onerous.
Then there's video. Sure, anyone can take video now (my daughter's $129 Samsung camera takes decent video, especially considering that price tag). However, the space requirements are much larger than with audio, and the editing process takes longer - I've not done it, but my daughter has been creating movies of girl scout events for her troop, and it takes eons to render stuff on the Mac mini. Sure, it would take a lot less time if I bought a new Mac pro, or an up to date PC - but with what I've got lying around, it takes a lot of time.
Then there's uploading and storage - suddenly things jump from 10's of MB to hundreds. Yes, disk space is cheap, but try doing a few - and see how well the purchasing department buys your argument as to why you need a storage farm :)
At the end of the day, I don't think most of the vlogs I've seen would lose much by being pure audio. For technically oriented stuff, a screencast is probably more useful than full video. Where does that leave me? It leaves me thinking that you should really consider your content and audience before you decide to whip out the digicam.