Sync Video: Just Get on with It

Today’s thought exploration turns to Thought Vectors and Concept Space.  For a fantastic explanation of these concepts, please take a moment to explore Jenny Stout’s thoughts on the topic.

My own thought vectors today are floating around the topic of sync video chat and virtual workshop delivery.  I’ve been doing a lot of video chat and virtual delivery lately, and am running into some areas of discomfort and adjustment – sometimes it doesn’t feel as synced up as I would like it to be.  Sometimes I hit bumps and hurdles in the tech sphere, and I’m the last person to let that get in the way. I’ve been looking for advice on how to do a virtual delivery better, but without it feeling really scripted or formal.

Enter in this article on the Faculty Patchbook: In Sync – Thoughts on Sync Video Conversations.  Autumn Caines knocked me flat when she identified that “there is something more vulnerable about sync video” – I couldn’t really put my finger on that truth, but she honed right in on it.  The medium feels very conversational, and I have this sense that I am out in the open, talking about topics that feel very close to home.

She rightly points out that sync video and webinars are not the same thing – sync video is conversation, interaction, idea sharing.  Webinars are cold transmission of information in video format – “Why make people come together to listen to you if you are not going to listen to them?”  So far, I’ve been a bit stuck imagining these differences, and picking out how to make my sync workshops feel like a workshop, and not like a broadcast.

I’d like to incorporate more interaction, but with that audio lag, the time it takes to type or turn on the mic, or get connected, sometimes there are exceptionally long awkward pauses.  Caines says to embrace these, acknowledge them, and move beyond them.  Just get on with it seems to be her motto – she talks about one time she wanted to bring another person into a video chat, but they didn’t have the bandwidth – so she had them phone in, and held the phone to the mic for them to participate.

I’ve been there – one workshop I delivered had one participant with no mic, no webcam.  Just my audio and a chat window.  And so I got on with it.   I accepted the lag for typing time, the dead silence of (what felt like) unanswered questions.  But, I don’t think it felt like dead silence to my participant, actively typing away on the other end, engaged in the topic and asking questions.  I had what felt like a conversation with my laptop, but it was a conversation, nevertheless.


I guess my takeaways are that conversations are messy, but the important thing is to have them, however we make that happen.  The medium isn’t perfect, but it does facilitate connections in ways we never appreciated might happen – so let’s use what we have to get talking.


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