Is working?

When I was but a bairn, in the halcyon days of working at a Uni I remember there was a huge demand for screencasts and videos of how people could use the online learning management system. So we made tons of them – and those early Camtasia efforts were quote something, I can tell you.

Then when I set up Edublogs – there was another demand for videos aplenty – so we made lots of them too.

And, after that, we figured, why don’t we produce white label videos that people can embed / upload in their WPMU installs and brand as their own … and that’s been really popular.

What am I getting at – well, people LOVE videos, they WANT videos and you can SELL videos, but (and it’s a big but) PEOPLE HARDLY EVER USE OR CARE ABOUT VIDEOS WHEN THEY HAVE THEM!

It’s true!

How do I know it’s true though? Well, I can tell you, categorically, that the number of views and downloads of all of the above has been absolutely miniscule by comparison to other resources (like pdfs, for example). I know, I have all the stats, and they are terrible.

And also, from my own experience I have a confession to make – I hate screencasts :D There, I said it, I can hardly sit through 2 minutes of one without doing something else, browsing away or yawning copiously. They. Are. Shocking.

But am I gonna stop making them in abundance… hell no! People love them, or the idea of them at least, so as far as I’m concerned – the more videos the better.

BUT (and it’s a big but) is that a sensible use of the domain – you know, I don’t think it is.

Why? Well:

  • First up, given that screencasts are pretty useless, I reckon they could much more happily sit at – people would be happy that they were there and it’d free up the domain for something much more exciting
  • Second because I don’t exactly see a rush of people submitting their work to the site – it actually ruffled me a bit when Jane suggested that .tv was a way to give back… I don’t think that it is a good way, for a lot of reasons, but primarily because giving back needs to be a ‘virtuous circle’ (or some other such new age gumbo) whereby people get stuff out the other end (but that’s another post :)
  • Thirdly because I reckon that, unlike me, WordPress don’t have an obligation to make people happy – they (or Automattic I guess) are (as far as I know) all about doing the right and most useful thing… and besides, from a ‘mattic view I can’t see how it could benefit their business.
  • Fourthly because I think has far, far more potential as a kind of showcase / stream of  videos put on WP blogs (as well as an alternative venue to upload and share video) – looking at streams of latest images, MMSs or videos is amazing and great, we recently completed such a feature for a Norwegian newspaper for their MMS stream and I think it’s bloody amazing.
  • And finally because I think this launch hasn’t gone well and it’s time to call it a misfire, I mean, check out the below (and / .org should be able to drive more traffic than god!):


And (this might make some of chuckle a bit, but its in all seriousness) I hope some constructive criticism / ideas might be one way that I can give back!

What do you reckon? – hit, miss or wayward child?