The Future Of Vlogs

With the growing popularity of web video platforms such as Youtube, more people are taking to uploading self-made videos online. From resembling daily log-entries, vlogs have evolved to cater to specific audience interests. Many users have developed vlogs to cover subjects such as their hobbies and interests.

User LifeAnnStyle vlogs about her craft hobbies:

User ReadUnlimited films herself reviewing books on her vlog:

Of course, these creations blur the lines between the classic vlog entry and other types of online video (eg, the how-to video, the review video, etc)However, in this genre, users seem to have the freedom to be as specific or as broad in the subjects featured on vlogs, as they are on regular blogs.

Nevertheless, there are benefits to a vlogger sticking to certain “rules”. If gaining subscribers or viewers is one of the main goals of a vlog, then it’s worth noting that several of the more successful vlogs are those that have consistently dealt with certain subjects or those that have been created in a particular style. These gather an audience that grows familiar with the vlog’s content and style, and grow to be distinctive.
Given the vast amount of content that’s found online, the ability to stand out in this way is a huge advantage for a vlog.

An example of a vlogger who’s gained a devoted audience in this way is ViHart. Her channel features a number of videos that all deal with Mathematics and Music. Additionally, she has a quirky style of presentation; she uses quick narration over a choppy video that usually focuses on her colored markers as she writes out explanations for complex “mathemusical” concepts.

 

The format of a vlog allows producers to be quite creative with it. Some in the film industry have taken advantage of this and incorporated the vlog into longer entertainment productions,  eg. Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog - a musical tragicomedy miniseries in three acts.
The film is about Dr. Horrible filming entries for his video blog while giving updates on his schemes and responding to various emails from his viewers.

The film was hugely popularity among viewers on the internet, and eventually was adapted into a TV series, and a comic book. These developments hint at the many ways vlog content can possibly evolve in the future.

It might be worth keeping an eye out for vlog references in pop-culture. They definitely have the potential to become the next big media phenomenon if worked with creatively.

From Kontras to Bubbe: A History of the vlog post

The first ever video blog or vlog was produced by Adam Kontras on January 2, 2000. He created the videos to keep his friends and family informed about his cross-country move from Columbus, Ohio to Los Angeles, California as he searched for a job in show business. His vlog, called Journey, would go on to become the longest-running video blog in history.

Here’s the video that accompanied his first written blog post: 

In November of the same year, Adrian Miles, a researcher in the University of Bergen in Norway, uploaded his own post on a video blog or a “vog” as he preferred to call it. He also created a manifesto that detailed his ideas about video blogging. He was particular to mention, “A vog is not streaming video. This is not the reinvention of television.”

Over the years, as more people gained access to high speed internet and web camera facilities, video blogs gained more attention. In 2004, Steve Garfield, a Boston radio producer, created his own video blog and declared it to be the “year of the vlog”. Radio and television stations began using video blogs as a new way to interact with their listeners and viewers. Forbes magazine picked up on the trend by 2005, and its coverage sparked further media interest.

A short video that was part of Steve Garfield’s vlog:

The founding of Youtube in 2005 hugely influenced the popularity of video blogs and online video in general. By July 2006, Youtube was the 5th most popular web destination, with 100 million videos viewed daily and 65,000 new uploads per day. The number of Youtube viewers grew exponentially since then. This explains how Youtube personalities such as Jenna Marbles have been able to gather 5.3 million views on a vlog post in a week.
Though the world of video blogging is usually considered a domain for the youth, the history of vlogging has included people of all ages. In 2007, The Wall Street Journal featured an eighty-year old Jewish grandmother “Bubbe” for her video blog called “Feed me Bubbe.” It contained a number of cooking videos for preparing kosher food. Since then, many other seniors began creating their own content through vlogs.

The range of viewers and producers of vlogs from 2000 to 2014 display a diversity of age, backgrounds and interests. It will be interesting to track how the vlog evolves as a genre from here on, and what the vlogging movement goes on to encompass.

The Vlog

Over the past decade, blogs have shifted from resembling online personal journals to being many people’s go-to sites for film reviews, cooking tips or even political opinion pieces. As more internet users share content online, some find their niche in video blogs or vlogs which can be just as versatile.

A vlog is usually considered an individual project, and so is generally shot and narrated by the same person. It could involve a person speaking directly to the camera about a chosen subject, a recording of a person’s activities or a film with images and text along with a voice-over. Vlog entries can be shot in one take or cut in multiple parts.

Youtube.com has emerged as a popular platform where internet users upload and search for personal vlogs. The tags ‘charlieissocoollike’ and ‘jennamarbles’ have become popular search terms, and are associated with the Youtube personalities Charlie McDonnel and Jenna Mourey who rose to fame through their vlog followers.

Much like regular blogs, vlogs give producers the freedom to base their content on practically anything. Some vloggers film themselves making comedic monologues, as in the famous post by Jenna Mourey, ‘How to trick people into thinking you’re good looking’, which gained over 5.3 million views in its first week.

Others create vlogs devoted to certain subjects or activities. Victoria Hart, who describes herself as a “Recreational Mathemusician,” creates educational vlogs entries explaining mathematical or musical concepts. Some of her posts have been featured on the online education site Khanacademy.

As with many internet videos, vlog entries gain popularity for a variety of reasons. Their content may click with the interests of select audiences, or may just pique the curiosity of millions of random viewers.

Watching vlog entries are much more time-intensive than going through text or photo blogs, and so may deter some people from watching them. However, like TV shows, some vlogs can cultivate devoted audiences that regularly watch every new entry. Nerdfighters, anyone?