Where we are, and where we’re going.
Real-time video communication is – literally – in our faces at every turn.
Well then – why is so much of it so horrifically terrible to participate in?
You know what I’m talking about.
You schedule an interview with a prospective employee, who dials in from a crowded Starbucks (check). You connect with an important and hard-to-get guest lecturer, who has the camera pointed at the top of his head the entire lecture (check). You can’t hear other participants because of the horrible echo coming from one of the dialed in members in the call (check). You sit for an hour in front of an unmoderated webinar, wishing you could get that hour of your life back (check, check, check).
It doesn’t have to be this bad. Truly.
In fact, I have a little side career mission to promote what I call Bearable Computing (see what I did there?) – a mission to promote responsible technology use, that isn’t distracting, idiotic, or simply indigestible.
Let’s start with first principles, regarding videoconferencing.
A few final notes: at our school, we record about 1TB plus worth of video in our media center each year. We see a lot of video. Some good. Some double-plus ungood. The common theme of bad video? It’s unwatchable. Bad lighting. Terrible framing. Horrible sound. Bad content. The same is true of unbearable teleconferencing: bad content, horrible framing, terrible video quality, spotty sound.
In short, before you sit down to participate in a video call, ask yourself: would / could I watch this video call, again, without being bored to tears? Is what I’m presenting watchable, in the least?
By using the right tools, and finding a good internet connection in a quiet distraction-free spot, you’ll greatly improve your chances of having a truly positive video experience.
We don’t all have to be consummate media professionals in order to effectively communicate via video.
But neither do we have to phone it in (Really. I’m stopping now).