Is Video In an Idea-Sharing Meeting Appropriate?

Camera lens

I sat with some friends at lunch yesterday right after our Social Media Mastermind Roundtable meeting. We got on to the topic of videos and live blogging in mixed company.  I voiced an observation to my friend, Eric, that I "missed" him at our last couple of meetings.  Oh, he was there alright. My point was that since he started taking up live blogging at the last couple of events, I've noticed that his contributions to the group have dropped off significantly. He has been much quieter lately, I complained.

My thoughts turned to video. (Surprised?)

I suggested how video might be a solution to the "I miss Eric's contributions" issue because video basically captures all the dialog in such meetings.  Hit the record button and then fuhget-about-it.  He would then be free to participate in the conversation without having to worry about missing a beat in the act of recording the moment.

Video Isn't Always Welcomed

But, hold on, suggested my friend Stacey. Video carries its own baggage in such meetings.

I saw her point immediately: with video running in the background and capturing everything that's being said in a forum that I, myself, have billed as a "safe environment in which to fail", the question is: wouldn't video actually have the effect of stifling the very uninhibited brainstorming and idea-sharing activities that make such mastermind forums so valuable? If attendees were aware of video hanging on, literally, their every word, then it stands to reason that attendees may not be so forthcoming with their most controversial opinions and fringe ideas. I'd actually feel cheated.

I mean, I get up every Saturday morning to attend these meetings just so I can brainstorm and bounce around new and potentially controversial ideas that I may not otherwise be willing to state publicly in other forums.

It's a great point Stacey raises; 'definitely something to consider. I don't have the definitive answers on this. (Does anyone?)

Get Permission

Off-the-cuff: my inclination is to reconsider my ideas about bringing video into those kinds of forums. (Though my lunch friends didn't say as much, my thoughts naturally drifted over to the "Any Given Saturday" piece I shot last weekend.) No matter how well-meaning the motivation is to benefit outsiders with visual evidence of the value of our mastermind meetings, the right thing to do is, I would say, to always ask permission.

And, while the group leader did kindly give permission before I shot that piece, in retrospect I'd have to say that if you were to find yourself in a similar scenario, it would probably be appropriate to first seek permission--not just from group leader--but from the meeting participants, themselves.

Should Video Be Banned Entirely For Some Meetings?

In fact, I might even go so far as to say that, because of individual pressure to conform to group norms, and for individuals to not want to come across as a snarky naysayer when someone asks, "can I video the meeting?", I might go so far as to say that maybe some meetings should probably just not be recorded in any case. No matter what the members might otherwise feel pressure to give with a head-nod.

What do you think? Should video be allowed to run in mastermind-type idea-sharing meetings?

(Photo courtesy: Andy Rennie, flickr, creative commons.)

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About Mel

Mel is the online training architect and screencasting wizard at Kareo, one of Forbes' 2013 list of 100 Most Promising Companies in America. He's also the creator of Digital-Know-How, a training website devoted to developing learners' skills for screencasting and web video course development. Mel is also the chief blogger of; Mel's personal blog. The comments and opinions you read here are Mel's and not associated with any other company.
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