Blogs: Words or Multimedia?

Robin at Blogpackinglight is the latest outdoor blogger to think about developing multimedia, video, material for his blog, joining Darren, George, Duncan and others.

There’s no doubt that much of this content really extends the value of the blog. Wondering just how bad the Lairig Ghru is? Well, you can see George walking through it on his London Backpacker blog. How do these new bits of gear work? How doe we put up a tarp? All of these and more can now be found via. YouTube. the new content providers are offering a really useful service — although I think Darren’s obsession with stoves is a tad worrying 🙂

But, this blog will remain focussed on the written word. Writing is what interests me the most. I still find it the most versatile of media and the most expressive. In this sense this blog is a much for me as it is for you. Writing a blog is very different from writing a journal in that you are always conscious that there is an audience out there, even if you may not be expressly writing for it.

I know that a number of my fellow bloggers, like me, have to write a lot for their living. This kind of writing is more enjoyable and more instant than that which needs to be considered carefully, and in this regard it is often preferable to writing for a formal publication.

So, good luck to those of you developing the multimedia side of blogging. But for me, there is much still to be done that relies on the written word.


  1. For me (at my site, not Darren’s ;), photos became more important, as my powers of description are limited. Video clips crept in, showing 360′ views of locales. On multi-dray trips, they allowed me to record my trip reports – originally for re-typing, then laziness meant that I just re-posted the clips. When my live-blog of my cross-Scotland trek of 07 fell foul of a dead mobile phone, I ended up stringing photos and video together to make a video.

    But, in these days of browsing rather than reading, or skimming through rss feeds, video forces the viewer to work at some-one else’s pace. But there are extra dimensions to the format, and this is something that we all might be discovering in the coming year.

  2. I am looking at using video as an add-on rather than a focus. For some aspects of the blog it may be better than the written word or still photos. However, the time needed to film and process suggests to me that most blogs will contiue to be primarily written.

    What has surprised me is the lack of decent walking/backing content on YouTube. Perhaps UK bloggers can take a lead and rectify this.

  3. Andy – you reflect my own sentiments so precisely both as to content and drivers. Long live the word!

  4. Another wordsmith John. Was thinking of you when I wrote the post 🙂

  5. Sorry Dunc.

  6. Robin, you’re right in your observations. I’ve thought about this a lot, taking a video on walks. Trouble is it detracts from the main experience – the walking! And to really focus on a walk, well it is a lot of hard work!

  7. I think video can work in small snatches and not detract from the experience. 5-10 minutes video footage per day probably doesn’t take too much effort, particularly as commentary is not necessarily needed. I think the key is to think of it as small scenes rather than making a movie. Approached in that way, it shouldn’t be too difficult. I will experiment next year to see whether my theory holds true. If I find it too much hassle, I won’t continue. I had also thought about audio content, but I think that is even more difficult to do well.

  8. Like all media, I think the key is simply to “think”. Whether thinking about what you are recording using the written word, the spoken word, still image or moving image.

    We all hike our own hikes, and so blog our own blogs. Our aims, skills and interests are all different. It gives variety to the blogosphere.

  9. Exactly right Duncan. There’s no “right” way of blogging and variety makes it interesting.

  10. Honoured Andy – we wordies have got to stick together

  11. As for video. I tried it when it first appeared. After a year or so I realised i was monitoring life thru a lense rather than living it for real. And thats not living

  12. Video is a powerful tool to share a story with. Words are good and I don’t mind telling a tale and will always do so. But if you look at for example Andrew Skura’s Web page with his videos of walks you can see the power they have. Example

    It is about choice and style. Bloggers have different views and reasons and that is good as we all put something different on the web.

  13. Thanks Martin, that’s given me a few hints. That’s the sort of style I was thinking of.

  14. Robin check his Iceland one as well. Powerful stuff. Looking forward to your video launch.

  15. It’s bad enough having to lug an SLR up a hill!

  16. and don’t forget all that audio kit you have as well.
    Luckily if you have the right dSLR you can shoot HD video. So not extra weight there 😉

  17. WD is spot on Andy. The new Nikon D…? something has video now as well. More pixels and video for you to play with.

  18. D90 Martin. Have been thinking about replacing the D70 with one. I’m not sure how the two media marry together though,

    Darren, of course, will be hiking across Scotland with five stoves, a camera, a video and a Playstation 🙂

    I suppose we’ll be auidio-ing again next year.

  19. yes Andy I will be taking my iphone thanks for reminding me of all the cool apps for it 😉

  20. After CT’s latest shot on his blogsite showing all those camera bags I’m just so glad I have a simple digi-camera I can almost fit into a matchbox!

    But then again my own pix I consider as just snaps whereas his are professional.

    The word is important, sure, it goes without saying (!) – but can be combined with pix & vids very imaginatively in some bloggers’ posts.

  21. I don’t doubt that Solitary – I enjoy looking at them. Too much like hard work for me though!

  22. Video….aaarrrggghhhh! The scourge of visual artistry. Mostly. Outdoor blogging is one area, though, where video can make a good blog better. Or worse – depending on the footage.

    Bad photographs can still be interesting and even inspiring, but I’ve yet to see a bad video worth watching. Would I really want to carry yet more techno-crap on the hill? No, not yet.

    Like Solitary Walker, I’m also a bit awed by the amount of “stuff” that CT wants to carry around to take photographs outdoors. Hmmm….maybe I ought to write a bit on my own blog about the photo gear prefer to leave at home.

    Good idea….

  23. Taking video to document your journey does not have to involve lots of heavy gear. A small digital camera thats capable of taking video and something other than a heavy tripod. Like the stickpic.

    Content and a great view will keep your viewers interested in watching you video until the end. Keep it interesting!

    Rod Java
    San Francisco
    Innovator of the StickPic

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