After blogs and podcasts, vlogs are the latest, hottest communication means in the new media space. The word vlog is the blend of ‘video’ and ‘blog’. A vlog is a blog which uses video as the primary content. iTunes also uses the term video podcast to describe a vlog.
In a way, vlogs can be considered as democratic TV. Getting your own vlog is like getting your privately-own TV studio, and producing your own TV-show. It’s quick, it’s easy, and it’s free or it requires a very affordable investment in tools. With vlogs, you can communicate anything you like to the world with all the possibilities that the video format has to offer:
- You’re no more simply telling people what you think, be it with written or oral words.
- You’re no more restricted with the motionless nature of photos and illustrations.
- You don’t need anymore to be an expert multimedia designer to create complex high tech animations.
With vlogs, you can now and simply SHOW the world what you think. The vlog community is increasing on a daily basis, including already famous vloggers like the ones from RocketBoom or Steve Garfied. Vlogs can also integrate virtual videos, like the homemade one produced by Alex Chan with software from a $70 video game (a technique called machinima): The French Democracy. The author wanted to make a political statement, countering what he deemed an inaccurate coverage of the riots in French suburbs. The video spread worldwide like wildfire, illustrating the increasing of blog-empowered, individual communication.
From a communication standpoint, vlogs clearly open brand new doors. Let me give you two concrete examples that directly come to my mind.
Example 1: Vlogs for municipal, governmental and public communication.
Imagine that you are the mayor of a nice, little village lost in the countryside. Your objective is to reinforce local identity among your citizens. Why would you hire an expensive TV company to develop your local TV channel with all the editorial, contractual and technological intricacies that it implies, when you can get your own vlog for the simple price of a journalist in charge of producing your contents on a regular basis. Not only reinforcing local identity, your vlog – being accessible worldwide – may even be one of the best way to develop tourism in your region. Obviously, this also applies to big cities wanting to promote district, social and cultural initiatives, or others.
Example 2: A vlog as your interactive resume.
Certain jobs are more ‘visual’ than others. Vlogs may be the ideal media for artists and others (such as actors, lecturers, live journalists, stuntmen, painters, graphical designers, architects, jugglers…) to promote their skills and arts. If I were an actor, what a better way than my own vlog to demonstrate my performance skills: one emotion a day and all the casting directors get it. On Monday, they get my smile. On Tuesday, they get my anger. And Wednesday, they get my crazyness. And so on. Be creative!
That was for the positive aspects related to vlogs. Still, don’t be abused. Vlogs also come with shortcomings, that is, the ones related to the video format:
- Today’s technology does not enable to get rich and efficient indexing of vlogs by search engines. As such, vlogs distribution is limited by its very own nature.
- The video format is linear. It requires the viewer to learn the information at the speed and rhythm predefined by the video. This is also true for the audio format, whereas textual information enables reading back and forth, skim-reading and so on. Text-based information versus audio-based and video-based information: this is an old debate!
- The video format is a heavy one, especially when speaking about the Internet and other mobile technologies. Even if good compressors today exist, a video file will always remain heaviest to download/broadcast than a text file.
All in all, vlogs are democratic, free and easy video communication that can turn any citizen into a TV journalist. They can also be considered as an innovative way to transform professional communication: applications seem obvious in the fields of e-learning, internal communication, and PRs, just to name a few. The launch of Apple’s video-enabled, 5G iPod has recently boosted ‘vlogging’. Vlogs integrate quite well in the mobile technology trends and can be a relevant marketing tool to touch those young, modern and mobile e-communities. Don’t be a laggard, surf the wave: vlog it and see if it works for you!