You Say Vook, I Say Video-Book

January 16, 2011

Virgina Heffernan’s recent article on the joys of the “vook—a software application that combines video and text”—brings to mind what MIT and I are calling my video-book (to be released online February 7), “large scale online writing that depends upon video, text, design and architecture for its meaning-making.” I like her effort to differentiate vooks from ebooks: writing in sentences, paragraphs and chapters that has been wedged onto a digital screen (allowing for both search and easy portability but otherwise sticking to the norms and uses of a book). Meanwhile Heffernan shares the use-value of reading vooks—she can see pilates in action rather than trying to imagine its tough moves from thick description. Here, I’d like to add to her discussion by waxing briefly about writing in such a form, and its unique liberations.

In the case above, I use the video as an illustration, like a moving photo that proves or embellishes my point. However, when I began learning how to really write for my video-book, I took several new steps as an author which include writing in video, creating montage between and across videos and text, and designing arguments in a spatial rather than linear sense, given that the Internet was my backbone not the codex.

Here’s a taste, and I will welcome comments upon the book’s release, written, of course, in the video-book’s vernacular (or what we call texteos, text+video). Another obvious difference—interactivity—I will publish users texteos into their own chapter, what I call a YouTour.

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