Text is the ultimate online influencer — yet more proof

I’ve long been convinced that text is the most efficient way to convey your message on the internet. Many people are saying video is the ultimate tool these days, but so far they have failed to convince me.

Inadvertently, a video-based learning programme just proved my point today. International Freelancers Academy published a three-part video programme about email prospecting. Each of the installments was 11–14 minutes long, meaning that I had to sit through more than half an hour of stuff dictated to me. In essence, the programmes were a mixture of a talking head plus powerpoint-like slides accompanied by a voiceover.

Halfway through the first video I thought to myself: Couldn’t this be condensed into an HTML page, a Slideshare deck or SOMETHING to speed things up? The point could have been made a lot more quickly, concisely and in a more readily digestible format using text.

Today I found an email in my inbox offering transcripts of those three videos. The opening line: “Many of you asked for an outline of the material I covered this week in the 3 training videos.” It would seem I am not the only person who prefers text over long-winded video.

Although a transcript to me looks like the easy way out as it doesn’t involve anything else besides writing the whole script down in its unedited form, it is a step in the right direction. Even better would have been to condense the content and the tips (which were very helpful, no denying that) into a much tighter package. I’m convinced many more people could adopt the teachings a lot more easily.

To recap my argument for preferring text:

  • Reading text is faster (your own pace) than being talked at (pace dictated by presenter)
  • Text provides better context because you can see the previous and next lines while reading
  • Text is searchable
  • Text gives you pure content, video gives you content disturbed by image and audio
  • Text is portable (you can print it out and take it with you), video is tied to the moment you view it
  • Text loads instantly—as you’ve undoubtedly experienced when trying to watch online video, it often stops at frequent intervals. The fits and starts make the experience extremely unpleasant.

I know, I’m repeating myself to some extent with this post. I’ve written on the same topic before, here and here, for example.

Do you agree? Want to refute my argument? Either way, let me know in the comments section! I’m looking forward to your view.


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