Vlog or Video Blog defined

To understand the impact of the modern blogosphere, we must understand the new trend of video blogging, or vlogging. Video blogging is a form of blogging that is on the rise. Ever since the webcam and the blogs, the potential has been there to produce millions of independent channels worldwide.

From news vlogs such as Rocketboom and ZeFrank to personal vlogs from Brookers, Emmalina and FilthyWhore (This is her designated name on YouTube), vlogs are generating millions of views per day. Rocketboom had over 300000 daily views of their news show before star anchor Amanda Congdon and producer Andrew Baron had creative differences.

Compared to traditional TV, these vlogs take pennies to make. Rocketboom was produced at a shoestring budget of 20$ a day. Right now, Rocketboom’s advertising rates for a week is about 85000$.

From Wikipedia’s entry on Video Blogs.

A vlog or videoblog is a blog which uses video as the primary content. Regular entries are made and presented in reverse chronological order. A typical vlog entry combines an embedded video or video link with supporting text, images, and metadata.

Vlogs often take advantage of web syndication. Web syndication allows the distribution of video over the Internet using either the RSS or Atom syndication formats, for playback on mobile devices and personal computers.

Vlog Communities exist which are sites that feature vlogs from multiple authors.

Though many vlogs are collaborative efforts, the majority of vlogs and vlog entries are authored by individuals.

Name

“Vlog” is a portmanteau that combines two words: “video” and “blog.”

Terminology

Vlogosphere

Meaning: Vlogosphere is the collective term encompassing all vlogs as a community or social network. Derivative of Blogosphere.
Usage: “I found quite a few cat videos while browsing around the vlogosphere.”

Vlogger

Meaning: One who videoblogs. Derivative of “blogger”.
Usage: “I met several vloggers with whom I had become aquainted through the internet.”

Underpinnings

While many arguments have been made about the social and political influences of video blogging there is one quote which has been cited continuously by members of the community since the inception of videoblogging.

The film of tomorrow appears to me as even more personal than an individual and autobiographical novel, like a confession, or a diary. The young filmmakers will express themselves in the first person and will relate what has happened to them. It may be the story of their first love or their most recent; of their political awakening; the story of a trip, a sickness, their military service, their marriage, their last vacation…and it will be enjoyable because it will be true, and new…The film of tomorrow will not be directed by civil servants of the camera, but by artists for whom shooting a film constitutes a wonderful and thrilling adventure. The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it, and the number of spectators will be proportional to the number of friends the director has. The film of tomorrow will be an act of love.

François Truffaut, published in Arts magazine, May 1957, Source: Miami New Times

This single quote would seem to forecast the transcendence of the moving image from simply a high art accessible only by a few into a common vehicle for capturing everyday moments and everyday communication.

Most important in this transition of the moving image from high art to an everyday means of communication is that the intended audience is not necessarily a “mass audience”. Indeed the intended audience of a videoblog need not be an audience of more than a single person for it to be effective.

The value proposition has less to do with the size of the audience and more two do with the relationship of the videoblogger and their audience.

Study in this area has produced many terms and theories such as narrowcasting and the long tail that suggest there is a smooth curve in the value proposition between videoblogging and traditional film and broadcast TV. However at their extremes vlogging and traditional film and broadcast TV would appear to have very little in common.

This diaspora between current forms of media such as newspapers, radio, TV and film and radical new forms of media including blogging, podcasting and videoblogging has been a point of great confusion and contention that dominates discussion of these new media.

This new medium is not so much about communicating TO mass audiences as it is about individuals gaining access to these new forms of communications “in mass”.

This transcendence of the moving image from high art to an everyday means of communication is clearly visible not only with the moving image but also in all forms of rich media such as podcasting (recorded audio), and most obviously with photography which has over the last century become an increasingly common and ubiquitous part of our everyday lives to the point we can now take pictures with a cell phone and instantly transmit them to those whom we’re in contact with.

We are not so much “making art” as we are communicating through the medium. The video has become just another part of our modern language.

Some have referred to this transition of image, audio and video as mass amatuerization. However this is in fact a misnomer and therefore taken as derogatory by many in the community. A very large percentage of the pioneers in videoblogging as in the related mediums of blogging and podcasting are in fact professionals from their respective fields.

What this process of transition is, is a process of mass illiterization. A process of breaking down old expectations, assumptions and forms of the language and medium and recreating new forms of language suitable for everyday communication.

This “mass illiterization” is probably best termed media literacy.

Videoblogging can be seen as fitting squarely if not modestly into this grand transition of language, literacy and communication which has been accelerated by the advent and proliferation of the internet and inexpensive digital cameras.

Many would draw parallels between the current evolution of media from high art into common everyday communication to that started by the advent of the printing press, which through the widespread proliferation of literacy had a tremendous impact on the evolution of modern society. Theories as to how this current evolutionary stage in mass communication will affect society have yet to be fully illustrated and debated. However, there is no denying the impact of these media (blogging, podcasting and vlogging) even at what is a relatively early stage in an evolution which will no doubt take decades or even centuries to spread around the globe.

History

Vlogging saw a strong increase in popularity beginning in the year 2005. The Yahoo! Videoblogging Group, once seen as the center of the vlogging community, saw its membership increase dramatically in that same year. The growth in the popularity of Vlogs can be attributed to several factors, such as the release of a new generation of iPods capable of playing video files and the introduction of video into the iTunes Store. The popularity of all types of internet based video also grew significantly in this same period. This is evident in the increase of internet traffic to sites such as YouTube. In late 2005 – 2006 vlogs became a significant contributor to clip culture.

  • 1998 – Adrian Miles publishes a paper called Cinematic Paradigms for Hypertext
  • November 2000 – Adrian Miles posts his first (known) videoblog entry ever on November 27, 2000.
  • Early 2000s – Various experiments with “video blogging”, never take off.
  • 2004 – Steve Garfield announces 2004 is the year of the videoblog. There are still only a handful of regular videobloggers.
  • June 2004 – Peter Van Dijck and Jay Dedman start the Yahoo! Videoblogging Group, which becomes the center of a community of vloggers.
  • Second half of 2004 – Big media discovers videoblogging, with articles in the NYT and a few others.
  • December 2004 – mefeedia.com is the first vlog directory to use an aggregator.
  • September 2004 – iPodderX, the first desktop video aggregator, is released
  • January 2005 – VloggerCon, the first videoblogger conference, is held in New York City. ANT (now: FireAnt), is released, and claims to be the first video aggregator to support every common video format.
  • February 2005 – FreeVlog, a step-by-step guide to setting up a videoblog using free tools and services, launches.
  • June 2005 – The Yahoo! Videoblogging Group grows to over 1,000 members.
  • July 2005 – VlogMap.org launches using Google Maps and Google Earth to display vloggers worldwide.
  • June 2006 – Vloggercon 2006, the second annual videoblogger conference, is held in San Francisco.

Common genres

  • Personal – Vlogs documenting the author’s life, the recounting stories from their past, or the airing of their opinions on various topics.
  • News – Vlogs covering news events.
  • Collaborative (also collective or group) – Vlogs with a collaborative nature.
  • Political – Vlogs discussing political issues.
  • Environmental – Vlogs discussing environmental issues, nature, and natural history.
  • Media – Vlogs analyzing television, documentaries and other mass media.
  • Entertainment – Vlogs producing “shows” or short films.
  • Third party collections – Vlogs collecting videos from third parties.
  • Educational – Schools and universities using vlogs as a teaching and creative medium.
  • Behind the scenes – Vlogs showcasing backstage activities of film production or other arts and skills.
  • Tutorial – Vlogs offering advice, demonstrations, how-to’s, and tutorials.
  • Travel – Vlogs serving as a travelogue, exploring different places around the world.
  • Religious – Vlogs discussing religious topics.
  • Magazine type or lifestyles – Vlogs discussing lifestyles and hobbies in a television magazine format.
  • Assignment-based – Vlogs consisting of assignments.
  • Vlog Anarchy – Vlogs covering all or multiple genres.
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