Vlogging: History & Superstars

A Brief History of Vlogging

We can’t begin to discuss vlogging, without referring back to it’s older cousin ‘the blog.’ Blogging (originally known as weblog), started around 1997 (Gao et al. 2010) and has altered the way we share experiences, views, opinions and perspectives. Five main blogging motivations were identified by Nardi et al. (2004) ‘documenting one’s life; providing commentary and opinions; working out emotional issues; thinking by writing; and promoting conversation and community.’ There are millions of blogs on the internet with content being uploaded at an unprecedented speed. Click here to check out the tracker monitoring how many blog posts have been published so far today.  As media and technology companies have evolved and media consumption of audiences have changed, the video blog emerged as a new way to document one’s life through an audio-visual medium, the vlog.

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Alfie Deyes vlogging for his channel ‘Pointless Blog’

“YouTube is now part of the mainstream media landscape” (Burgess & Green, 2009)

The birth of YouTube along with the ‘prevalence of digital cameras, quality of mobile phones and near-ubiquitous availability of broadband network connections’ (Gao, 2010) vlogs have flourished online. According to the FortuneLords, there are approximately ‘1.3billion YouTube users with over 300hours of content uploaded every minute’ (FortuneLords, 2017). Because of this unfathomable amount of information and content out there in the blogosphere/vlogosophere, how do some stand out amongst the crowd and acquire millions of subscribers and followers?

Celebrity Vloggers

The BBC recently produced a 1 hour documentary, ‘The Rise of the Superstar Vloggers,’ where successful vlogger, Jim Chapman, explores the importance, ordinary lives, prospects and future of the vlogging world. He speaks with ‘Superstar Vloggers’ like Zoella, Alfie Deyes, KSI, Tyler Oakley and Joe Sugg, each with millions of subscribers and worth millions of dollars. Chapman attempts to understand what vlogging means to them and what it says about us as society. It’s a detailed documentary which ultimately conveys how being a vlogger is a way to express your emotions, be true to yourself and to deeply connect and identify with others. And how did they get there? Well apparently there’s that ‘special sauce’ a ‘secret ingredient’ that works it’s magic. Of course it’s entertainment, personality, adventure and honesty but there’s something else that makes this YouTube world, even more enthralling.

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Fans at VidCon get to meet their idol.

Awards, Conferences and Crazed Fans

Like any area, you need to have certain events to celebrate, admire and adorn celebrities. VidCon is the largest YouTube festival which attracts people and YouTubers from across the globe. Not only does it connect fans and celebrities, but it’s also a huge opportunity for tech companies to pitch their latest gadgets and products (something I’ll touch on in the weeks to come).

 

Buffer Festival is a Canadian YouTube Festival which focuses more on the creators and gets them to premier a new short video they create specifically for this two day festival. Held in Toronto, Canada, I was lucky enough to attend in 2016. Being new to the YouTube world, I had no idea what was in store. Throughout a mixture of film premiers, workshops, tutorials, keynote speakers and exclusive screenings, I got a chance to connect with inspiring like minded creators and also my favourite YouTubers as you can see from my vlog above. Like a red carpet or awards event for A list celebrities, large scale events like this are a direct way to connect fans with their idols and tech companies. The hardest thing to understand, and as emphasised in the BBC’s documentary by Alfie Deyes, fans know the YouTube celebrities better than some of his best friends, and when you invite people so intimately into your life, it is inevitable that issues will arise (I’ll be addressing some of these issues later on so stay tuned).

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Daily Vloggers

Some of the top guns in the game of daily vlogging, particularly, daily travel vlogging is Fun For Louis, Ben Brown, Logan Paul and Casey Neistat. These vloggers are people that I have personally followed for about 18 months and I’m very familiar with their content, style and personal lives. Gao et al. outlines the lifecycle of a vlog as the following; ‘producing, posting and archiving’ (2010), a cycle that is generally quite lengthy, requiring a certain level of skill, time and dedication. To daily vlog, requires the creator to do this cycle every single day. It requires an enormous amount of time, effort and resources, however, with millions of subscribers and being able to pursue their dreams, their hard work has been rewarded with enormous success.

But is it all really perfection? Is travelling the world, receiving free gifts, free gadgets, tech deals, sponsorships, cameras and going through the cycle of Eat. Sleep. Vlog. Repeat… really perfect? Or better yet what’s the downside to this seemingly perfect world? Stay tuned for next weeks post!

 

References

BBC, 2016, ‘The Rise of the Superstar Vlogger’, BBC Three, viewed 27 March 2017

Burgess, J Green, J 2009, YouTube: Online Video and Participatory Culture, John Wiley & Sons,

FortuneLords, 2017, ’36 Mind Blowing YouTube Facts, Figures and Statistics – 2017′, FortuneLords, 23 March, viewed 27 March 2017, https://fortunelords.com/youtube-statistics/

Gao, W et al. 2010, ‘Vlogging: A Survey of Videoblogging Technology on the Web’, ACM Computing Surveys, Vol. 42, No. 4, Article 15

Nardi, B et al. 2004, ‘The Blogosphere: Why We Blog’, Communications ACM, Vol. 47, No. 12, pp. 41-46

 

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