I’ve chosen to write about the genre of “vlogs”, specifically those created for educational purposes. In this digital age, it’s become increasingly popular for people to create and upload their own videos, and the endless collection of these projects is constantly expanding with new ideas. One of the most recent fads is the idea of a vlog. The word itself is contracted from “video blog”, meaning that people basically talk to the camera in hopes of reaching a larger audience. In order for a video to be classified as a vlog, it simply needs to contain a narrator whose main purpose is to address other people. Vlogs must also be filmed and edited by their narrators instead of other people, because they are meant to be individual projects Many stand-up comedians use this as a tool by which to spread their work, but vlogs are also used as a way to spread ideas, opinions, and knowledge between people who care to take the time to watch these short digital videos.
Many of the popular educational vlogs are targeted towards students. The narrators explain certain subjects in detail, usually using more fascinating examples and visual aids, in order to convey information and help a student cram for an exam. John and Hank Green, known on YouTube as the “Vlogbrothers”, have created a channel called the “Crash Course” with over 100 videos that all discuss some type of educational topic that would likely be covered in a high school classroom. The videos each describe scientific topics or parts of world history (depending on whether it is Hank or John making the vlog), and usually are humorous, insightful, and much more intriguing than your stereotypical monotonous high school teacher. The channel has earned about 22 million collective views, and its popularity demonstrates how grand of a phenomenon these types of vlogs have become.
While the Vlogbrother Crash Course videos tend to be more formal in introducing their topics, other YouTube figures take a casual approach and create more relatable videos. YouTube user “CGP Grey” has a channel entitled “Grey Explains”, which discusses various topics in depth from an educated standpoint. The Crash Course videos are usually given specific units, such as “World War I”, which are not as intriguing to people other than students looking for that particular information. Grey’s videos, on the other hand, contain more interesting and broader subject matters, such as “5 Common Historical Misconceptions”. His audience is built of people who are simply curious enough to watch his videos, and he uses animation and witty commentary to maintain their full attention. Along with this, there is a popular YouTube channel called “Brain Scoop”, run by a zoologist at the University of Montana, which talks about interesting and weird animals with the intent to be entertaining but educational, similar to the “Grey Explains” videos.
The true “blog” factor of the vlog genre is seen in videos where the narrators speak directly to their family or friends instead of to a wider audience. For instance, many kids going abroad will create short vlogs every week to send to their families as a better demonstration of what their program is like. Long-distance friendships or relationships are also often the subject of vlogs, because the short videos give the narrators more time to really be creative and unique. People sometimes just use vlogs as a personal journal, talking about their daily lives in interesting ways with the desire to just be heard by other YouTube fanatics. All of these different subgenres of vlogs are educational because of the way that they spread ideas and information. No written message or phone call can be as creative, intriguing, and personal as a short video can be, which is why the idea of vlogs is becoming increasingly popular.
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