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I really don't like video

Updated: Sep 30, 2023

Sepia image of an old film reel, unspooling

I need to tell you something, and after everything I've written about narratives, it shouldn't surprise you:

Video overwhelms me.

  • I can’t stand seeing videos in my news feeds on social media.

  • I really dislike the videos that get in my way on and its app.

  • If a news story has a video, I’ll only watch it if there is no written content.

  • And, with the exception of live virtual events, if I am in a class or course conducted via video, I need it to have subtitles or I won’t be able to grasp what it’s telling me.

  • (Live events, even recorded live events, move more slowly so it is easier to take notes along the way, essentially creating my own subtitles.)

I suspect I’m not alone, but I don’t use Reddit so I’m not out there looking for people like me. In fact, I wonder if there might be millions of us out there.

A few months ago, I was on a walk with one of my favorite humans, and I said, “The whole world is going toward video, so I need to learn more about how to make it work.”

She stopped me. “But is that actually true?”

I assumed that I was the problem, the old-fashioned holdout who needs to give up reading and learn to learn the “right” way if I’m ever going to thrive in the TikTok era. And maybe I am the problem, but more likely I’m not. And if people like me don’t start speaking out, we will continue to believe we are wrong or lacking and need to be fixed.

We don’t.

The written word is not dead. It might be cheap and easy to manipulate, but there are probably millions of people who still prefer reading to watching videos. There are surely millions more who benefit from a healthy mix of written and video content. And this is to say nothing of the near-universal value of graphic content that doesn’t move – you know, those things we call “graphics?”

But here’s a truth that we really need to be talking about: There are so, so many people (millions perhaps) who feel physically ill by the surprise movement that videos add to their news feeds. When I’m tired or stressed, I can easily fall into this camp.

So here’s my radical proposal: MAKE VIDEO OPTIONAL.

And if video is the only option you can provide, make sure it has subtitles because people like me will seldom retain anything we hear or watch (unless we write it down). But we will often remember what we read. What’s more, we’re far more likely to integrate and act on what we read than what we merely hear. But that’s a topic for another day.


Need help translating your video content into a compelling read? I’m your gal! Hit me up at the form below so we can start collaborating.

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