Another dot in the blogosphere?

A dig at Diigo & a lesson on videos

Posted on: December 12, 2014

I like using Diigo.

I use it to augment my memory by bookmarking, tagging, and ultimately curating content there. I link my tweets with URL resources to Diigo via I use a Diigolet (Javascript bookmarklet) or extension to archive resources that are interesting to me.

I am so dependent on Diigo that when it falters, part of me does too.

But Diigo being good at all these things does not make it good at creating videos.

Video source

The Diigo video on how to use its new outlining tool is a good example how NOT to make an instructional (or even informational) YouTube video.

The audio is poor because the narration sounds hollow. The recording was not clean because of background noise.

The lighting and camera positioning was inconsistent between takes.

Some grittiness and realism are what makes some YouTube videos appealing, But these are poor excuses for a company that should have the resources to prevent shoddy marketing of its new tool.

The biggest sin of all was that Diigo did not actually show its new outlining tool. It favoured the whiteboarding strategy to illustrate the concept of outlining.

The cool tool trap might have been the relative technical simplicity of whiteboarding. Perhaps the creator of the video knew no other method and decided to teach the way they were taught, which is a another trap.

Whichever the case, illustrating simply is actually very difficult. It is not just a matter of removing visual complexity or context. It is also about understanding what a learner does not know and needs to know. It is about leveraging on metaphors that work. It is about creating transfer.

The video fails because it used the wrong overall strategy.

The strategy would have been fine if Diigo was pitching this as a brand new idea (“imagine if you could…”) to investors or new stakeholders. Even these folks would want to see a working mock up.

From its introduction about better ways to archive, the target audience was the existing Diigo users. Users who were already familiar with the concept and existing practice. Users who needed to be shown the new practice so that they could try it straight away.

In an informational or instructional video, the strategy should always be led first by the context and the audience. It is always pedagogy before technology.

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