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In my view, Youtube and the other video hosting services are terrific
as marketing tools, to introduce a product, technology, or person
seeking to broaden an audience. (Scoble, for example, wants more blog
traffic, so Youtube is ideal for him.)
Do you think, though, that as a regular part of product documentation
these the best resources? Of that, I'm not so sure.
The simple fact that other videos are immediately available upon the
completion of one would seem to me to invite users to go "down the
rabbit hole" into other topics that may be interesting in the
abstract, but which deflect attention from the job at hand.
For documentation, I would want a sort of "just the facts" approach
with no unnecessary diversions.
Of course, I have found typical videos associated with product
documentation often to be time wasters. When someone is seeking help
with a very focused and defined issue, too often they must sit through
a lengthy video just to get the bit they are interested in.
For documentation, then, I would pay special attention to the point
needing the example or clarification that a video can bring--and make
that video as short and to the point as possible. Rather than
combining many procedures into a single video, then, I would separate
them so those seeking help with a particular procedure can get it
quickly and without particular effort.
I also think too many people include video in their online materials
simply because they can, not for any well defined reasons. Properly
selected, a video can be highly appropriate and very effective.
Otherwise, it is usually far better to leave them out, in my opinion.
> From: Julie Stickler <jstickler -at- gmail -dot- com>
> To: "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
> Date: Sat, 23 Jan 2010 10:37:07 -0500
> Subject: Re: Integrating movies into documentation (Erika Yanovich)
> On Sat, Jan 16, 2010 at 9:21 AM, voxwoman <voxwoman -at- gmail -dot- com> wrote:
>> If I were a customer, I'd be really dubious about the stability/seriousness
>> of a company that either didn't have the web skills (in house or be willing
>> to pony up the money to hire a freelancer) to host their own videos, or if
>> they were too cheap to pay for the bandwidth. Seeing "official" company
>> videos on YouTube would tell a potential customer that the company is
>> shadier than the companies that advertise at 3AM on cable TV.
> Wow, either y'all don't spend much time on YouTube, or you think
> companies like IBM and Dell are shady.
> I suspect that IBM could hold their own videos if they wanted to, but
> figured that since YouTube has the traffic, they'd go where they can
> find the most people.
> Check out the Science and Technology category and you'll see videous
> posted by IBMLabs, IBMResearchZurich, IBMSocialMedia, DellVLog, CERN,
> NASAtelevision, firefoxchannel and Robert Scoble (formerly of
> Microsoft). And that's just from five minutes of browsing, to refresh
> my memory that it really was YouTube where I had seen IBM videos.
> Julie Stickler
> Blogging about Agile and technical writing
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