With Zennie62 - Zennie Abraham, I've completed my 20th Vlogger Interview, a project I began last fall with the intention of interviewing a wide cross-section of the vlogging (video blogging, for those new to the concept) community (here's the full list). I began vlogging myself - on and off at least - since 2010, and I've become fascinated with the concept of vlogging as a new means of expression - even a new art form apart from film and television.
I've discovered, in my effort to demystify vlogging, that searching for precise definitions may be futile. In fact, to paraphrase Margaret Fabrizio (ATree3), it may only be possible to further "mystify" vlogging. The more vloggers I meet, the more elusive any answer becomes. The more the community grows and expands, the more it reflects the diversity of people in general.
Age is certainly not a limitation here, (though at times I felt ancient attending Vidcon, the YouTube content creator’s conference). I've interviewed vloggers ranging in age from 15 to 81 years old. Discovering the unifying visions that all of these individuals share is one of the more fascinating aspects of this process.
Motivations vary widely. There are some who vlog simply for self expression, sharing their views or artistic visions. Others vlog for fame, seeking a YouTube partnership or their own reality show. Still others have found vlogging as a jumping-off point to bigger and better things.
Andrew Brackin is only seventeen. His early experience as a vlogger not only introduced him to new friends, but to a world of possibilities already within his reach before he reached his mid-teens. Today, he's both a high school student on the verge of graduation - and an veteran web entrepreneur. I think he could represent the first of a new breed of entrepreneurs combining tech and business savvy with social networking skills that could generate lightning-fast growth and development.
Zennie Abraham, on the other hand, is an entrepreneur who blogged and then vlogged - first to promote his business. Then, he realized that vlogging itself could be his business. He's a good example of someone who thinks outside the box in which so many long-time professionals tend to seal themselves.
Ali Jardine (RogueBlueJay), 20; and Harrison Houde (xTurnipTimex), 15, are young filmmakers that represent the early dawning of a new age of content creators. As Ali said, the "secret handshake" of Hollywood's filmmakers in the years to come may not be a shared film school, but a shared experience in the wild virtual streets of YouTube.
Harrison Houde, a professional actor (best known so far in a memorable comedic role as the boy who touched the cheese in the first "Wimpy Kid" movie), is also an aspiring filmmaker, and just may have the ability to merge his two interests – years earlier than generations before him.
The first vlogger I knew was Kenrg, an old high school friend whose online creativity I've followed over the years. He's always been an early adaptor on the social media front, and was an early vlogger on YouTube. Looking back, he notes that vlogging and the community interaction it made possible has moved beyond the simpler – and singular - canvas of early YouTube, and now extends across a number of social media platforms. A vlogger on YouTube may interact with followers through Facebook, Twitter, personal blogs, and countless other sites.
Vloggers are a creative, dynamic group that are effectively state-of-the-art storytellers. They have an appreciation of the power of self-expression, and lead the way (though they may not recognize it) showing the social media-phobic public the excitement and importance of developing a worldwide community.
|I want YOU for a Vlogger Interview!|
I’d also like to do my part to share the richness of this community. I've made the decision that I'll be publishing an e-book later this year recalling these interviews, exploring some vloggers in more detail, and sharing some interesting parallels with early filmmaking history.
But first – more interviews! If you're passionate about vlogging, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org - I'd love to talk to you!