Audio-Visual DiscussionsPosted by Time Barrow on October 15th, 2008
Categories: discourse & technology
In response to This comment, I’m not fully comfortable with “Video Chat,” which seems to suggest conversations generally formed of quick snippets of thought that are conversational and not fully thought-out before presentation. I’d prefer a title like “video discussion” or “audio-visual discussion.” [NOTE: While a google search of “visual discussion” revealing 3750 hits, shows I did not coin this term, it is a term I have not previously heard. Therefore, I will research how other people are using the term and will likely present a follow-up post with my findings.] This point is really about this concept that adding a video comment to an online video allows the commenter to more fully form his or her thoughts, just as one can do in a written comment.
Conceivably, one could write the comment and merely recite it into the camera. This factor, of taking the time to form a better thought and statement before it is made, is a condition often noted of IM/Chat over a live conversation. In this way, many find it a benefit in settings such as online classroom discussions over face-to-face classroom discussions. What the audio-visual discussion offers is an additional level of contemplation time (above the chat session, which is still live), but now the presentation method is, in many ways, more like the face-to-face setting in that it is a real, visible human whose appearance, gestures, expressions, etc., can be seen.
After reading the comment, I went back to the Viddler video I initially presented and found that I can add a video comment to my video comment (I left such a response). As I mentioned in the video, the first structural image in my mind was that of the Russian dolls that stack inside each other: one could have a (video response to a video response])nth-power each housed in the video to which it is responding. After watching my response to the response, I found that it does not keep drilling down inside of the previous one. Rather, the initial video response is placed in the timeline and can be expanded to an acceptable viewing size. From there, secondary responses to the initial video response and beyond are all placed vertically as a discussion thread, just as they would be in a blog (such as this we are now using for this discussion).
So, while it may be a small variance to my original thought, the Russian doll analogy does not really apply, since that would require a viewer to open 10 responses to get to the 11th. Beyond being clearly cumbersome, this situation is not logical spatially for the tool. Rather, 10 comments appear just as they do on a blog. This is easier to follow visually. Actually, it is far easier to follow, since, the discussion threads are separated into their specific locations, unlike with a blog in which 5+ different discussion topics would all be merged together in a long thread (like trying to follow a single discussion in a chat room where people are carrying on different conversations). For example, this comment I am now writing has, so far, three paragraphs. If, instead of being written, this comment was a recorded video, it could draw three separate visual discussion comment points from other viewers. Those comment points might create an ongoing discussion among two or more individuals. In this way, the original oration branches off (forks) into three separate, yet related, audio-visual discussions.
A small downfall to this situation, at least with the current tool, is that any additional branches do not really occur. For example, a single audio-visual discussion comment from the original might have four responses to it and begin to enter into a different topic. When this happens in a discussion list, one often renames the discussion thread in order to accurately title the discussion topic. With the video, it pretty much needs to go under the initial audio-visual discussion comment thread topic, as a new thread at the base level (which would likely be illogically placed), or as a new original video. Incidentally, such audio-visual discussion branches could be titled, since one can add textual comments, as well.
The best point I see in all this is that the audio-visual discussions can be archived and are, therefore recallable. This creates benefits for many situations from simple clarification, repetition, education, entertainment, legal archives, etc.