Vloggers: Be Your Own Scorsese

by: Joseph Pratt

From tiny acorns grow mighty oaks. Like weblogs (blogs) before them, video blogs (vlogs) are emerging from a tightly knit online community and entering into a more mainstream Internet fare. Our consulting team at ICMediaDirect.com is working with more and more clients to utilize vlogging capabilities for website enhancement. Perhaps an introduction to video blogs is in order: before too long the handiwork of vloggers may be everywhere.

You could think of a vlog as blogging through video or, perhaps, keeping a video journal online. Vlogs, usually shot by digital video cams, can be viewed on a computer or downloaded onto a portable device for watching. The content of a vlog can be anything that your video cam can capture. Vlogs may document births or be online video diaries (or “confessionals” a reality TV standby). Short films are shot and available online in a vlog format and vloggers are capturing their local sporting events for online viewing pleasure, too.

Vlogs, like audio podcasts (which is sound only), are delivered via RSS feeds. Vlogs can also be tagged and archived. The popular video formats employed are: .mov (QuickTime), .wmv (Windows Media Player), .rm (RealMedia), and others.

Vloggers, like bloggers before them, are an enthusiastic bunch. Blogging grew in popularity because of the attraction of time sensitive online diaries. Bloggers liked, and still do, the ease in which they could post pictures alongside their thoughts. In fact, many blogs became more focused on picture posting than in written content. Visually rich blogs and picture posts were the forerunners of video logging. Ordered and available movie bits are a natural extension of a visually rich Internet. Hence the Vlog. This evolution can be traced in the demands of our clientele list at ICMediaDirect.com as well.

Today’s vloggers, small but steadily growing in number, have a pioneering spirit that one associates with trailblazers. There is no shortage of self-expression to be found amongst their numbers. Says visionary vlogger Escorial of One Thousand Dreams, a Diary for a Life Change (http://onethousanddreams.blogspot.com/):

“I always felt the need to tell stories. To communicate ideas that go through my mind. To share a moment of my day a breath of my life, to connect with others. We are social animals, we have an instinct to look for company for relationships with other humans.”

It is almost a universal need for vloggers to express themselves, to tell a story. It’s a ready-made medium for filmmakers to record their ideas – almost like note pads can be for writers to jot down their thoughts.

Escorial goes on, “I love filmography and this is a medium that allows me to express my art, and to experiment without monetary burdens; neither political nor publicist’s agendas.”

Vlogging is still in its infancy, so the biggest fans of vlogging are vloggers themselves. A vibrant community has formed on the Internet, geographically dispersed of course, where vloggers find support and exchange ideas. If video logging is to meet widespread use on a participatory level, it will have to break out of this obscurity.

It is the future of vlogging itself that video loggers have the widest opinion on. Considering that many vloggers are, to some degree visionaries, it isn’t uncommon for them to hold far-reaching visions for their handiwork. Says Danish video logger Sam Reinsew, “I see the future of vlogs as having a great artistic visual potential: a new outlet for ways of perceiving the world around us, and sharing these oblique views, in an ever more fragmented world.”

One vlogger forsees, but can’t yet identify, a “killer app” that will take vlogging to the “next level”. Considering the speed at which technological applications create communities online, this prediction may already be in the works.

It is easy to envision skilled vloggers creating video ads that can be played on cell phones or other portable video players, the imagined future of local search. Let the national campaigns stay national, but to make area specific splashes in a video format you’ll need local video. Smart snatches of commercial film stored for local search should be where vloggers find their initial commercial niche.

There will be no pressure on your average video logger to “sell out”, however. Vlogger Kieran Blake envisions the commercialization of vlogs and says, “It’s inevitable and welcome, really, because it will provide exposure without compromising anyone’s integrity. People who just want to do their own thing and create or whatever - they will still be able to.”

Consider today’s popular tech items as vlogs become regular features found on blogs and websites. Perhaps you’ve noticed the new Apple Video iPod and the availability of iTunes Store's video content. Are these the earmarks of a web fad or those of inevitable marketing opportunity? Time will be the final judge, but until then – vlog away. You might become The Next Big Thing.