But something worse looms. The video iPod and its cousins, and the ease of making small downloadable portable video magazines, offers a future of what I'm sure they're calling vodcasting. This unfortunately does not provide vodka, but may require it. The thought of tapping on my handheld video device and seeing Dave Winer or some person who has the best blog about Babylon 5 talk at me is, frankly, emetic.
My opinion is that mumbling, whiny, unsightly geeks who insist on being media personalities should restrict themselves to text like the other mumbling, whiny, unsightly geeks over the last 10,000 years and stay out of the public eye and ear. The reason we're not all on the radio and the TV is not just that access to media is limited. It's also that very few people have either the skills or the charisma to do either of those things without making others dizzy with loathing.
But I can deal with that just by not watching any of it. The second part of this is worse. Right now, blogging is a text medium, and I love it. I have maybe 200 RSS subscriptions to personal and institutional weblogs and weblog-like things and I get a lot out of it. I make fun of the bozosphere, but mostly it's great.
Video may not kill it, but it'll be a huge kick in the stomach. Video is seductive. It's immediate and TV-like. It's visual. It makes people feel like stars to be in videos. It's dumbed down and easy. And it's made for ad insertion. Video podcasting, when it gets to a certain point, will be adopted by just about all the commercially-run weblogs and a huge portion of the homebrew ones. And I see it as having an unpleasantly TV-like effect on the web. You might not think a three-paragraph blog update on one of the Weblogs Inc. or Gawker sites is a heavy chunk of ideas, but it'll get smaller and dumber in a video. Instead of a galaxy of smart little snide magazine article squibs, we'll have huge numbers of local news quality "segments" with stock footage and maybe 200 words of idea in them. Inevitably the commercial blogs will be done by prettier and prettier faces. And because there's less money in blogging than in actual TV, the use of stock provided footage from commercial sources will be universal.
With luck, we'll keep a core of text-based weblogging that has actual ideas in it, the way we kept an intelligent chunk of the Web after the flashmonsters and marketing droids ate most of it. But it's not a good thing, not at all.
I hate video.