Blogging, (for those of you in the Dark Ages- a (we)blog- n. an online journal that incorporates weblinks, reader commentary and archives of the owner/author’s posts. Can include photos or video) experienced a superboom from 2002-2005 and today’s technorati.com blogtracker shows 71.06 million blogs and counting. On Jan. 1st, 2004, Steve Garfield declared ‘The Year of the Videoblog’ and he proved to be an assured soothsayer. Video blogging, or vblogging, is the new media breakthrough within the latest presentation of web technology and interactive production and, in the case of the vlog, broadcasting.
The Vlogosphere is filled with an equal amount of bizarre nonsense, biased and unbiased news, politics, sit coms and a man dressed as SKELETOR giving his semi-weekly glimpse into the world of the unemployed superhero singing karaoke, griping at home and play-acting his foregone existence in Eternia. YouTube and similar sites such as blip.tv, mefedia.com and podcasting have made it easy and accessible for anyone with a camera, laptop, broadband connection and a dream (or disturbing nightmare) to post their video thoughts and accomplishments online. Everyone’s a filmmaker and it’s more or less uncensored.
These sites have existed for a few years giving way to meld the two ideas of blogging and posting your videos online together, birthing the invention of the vlog. Steve Garfield and his wife Carol, the regular Joes from Sedona, Arizona, imparted a revolution with “The Steve and Carol Show”, a program on the web about two normal, middle class white folks who talk about the weather, vblogging and document their outdoor activities. Another popular favorite is Rocketboom.com, started in 2004 by New York City video producer Andrew Baron. With inane, specialized daily news anchored by wry, tongue-in-cheek, stationed and roving reporter, Joanne Colan, rocketboom produces a daily, three minute aggregated news program. Satellite reporters contribute equally outer fringe reports from around the world as well as clips or entire videos from other vloggers that Rocketboom deems worthy of sharing in their daily display of didacticism. This short format television combined with commentary uses trackback and ping components of blogging, instantly sending links through the internet to ascribe to as many viewers as possible. And people are watching.
A weekly publishing vlogger, Clint Sharp said “the potential for everyone to self-publish has the ability to revolutionize the world. When you have Hollywood and major media as a filter, they’re going to do what appeals to millions rather than thousands. It’s just not cost-effective for them to produce a show about the didgeridoo (for example). That’s what the internet has changed — you can find stuff and market it ridiculously cheaply.”
Even the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel has a weekly videoblog. The videoblog is still in its toddler years and is, thus far, a spectacular example of the (mostly) American displays of freedom of the press, freedom of speech and freedom of religion (right, Skeletor?). This new form of hybrid journalism can be made at home or in a well-designed office, from the people and for the people with (so far) no corporate hands mucking up the clear, blue sky of broadband distribution has paved the streets with possibilities.