“Vee-log”, “ve-log,” “v-l-o-g.” When did this word get added to our dictionary? Certainly, any random teenager you encounter will have watched a vlog in their leisure time, and a portion of them may be able to name a few vloggers they follow themselves. So what exactly is the vlog culture?
A Brief History
Short for “video log,” the word vlog branched from blog, which is a form of digital journaling. The title of the first vlogger in history is credited to Adam Kontras, who released his first vlog, The Journey, on January 2nd, 2000.
The reason for Kontras’ success and the rising popularity of vlogs in society is that vlogs satisfy people’s demand for a different form of “fun” that is more interesting and unique than the banal 2D entertainment they were used to in the late 1900s. Kontras’ success and the explosion of entertainment and modernization in the 2000s (the better quality of cameras, people's lifestyle dynamics, the birth of social media platforms) spiced up the recipe for the vlog culture we have developed today.
What does it mean to be a vlogger?
Vlogging is a growing trend, especially in the pool of American teenagers who spend an average of 7.5 hours on their electronic devices each day for leisure and entertainment. In some developed cities, the average screen time climbs up to 10 hours a day.
Possibly after reading the news, gaming, watching Netflix, and surfing the web for the most recent rumor about a celebrity's relationship status, YouTube is the ultimate channel that leads to the fantasy land of happiness and relaxation. No wonder vlogs are successful.
Most vloggers join the trend genuinely because they find filming and sharing their life with others interesting and motivating. Some may be incentivized by the other vloggers' success and the potential profit they can gain from this unique activity. Others may want to be more active online, hoping to build their confidence, social presence online, and networking circle.
And what does it take to start your own vlog channel? I have filmed a vlog documenting a day in my life before and can promise you this: a camera, yourself, and your ideas are all that you'll need. If you're looking to craft a more professional or creative vlog than my basic trial, check out this webpage that provides a detailed guide to creating a vlog with tips on what content you should include.
Joining the vlog market is easy, yet it is the low entry barriers that pose a threat to the genuine intent of filming vlogs. More and more people are inventing strategies to attract a greater audience and secure a stable fan base to stay in the market. People are motivated to film videos because of profit incentives, and the only thing not on the rise is the quality of vlog videos.
My Experience Watching Vlogs
I don't remember the specific name of the first vlog I watched, but it was definitely years ago when my friend first introduced me to some of her favorite YouTubers. Immediately, my afternoon was flooded by video after video, as YouTube is incredibly skilled at recommending people videos to watch next (anyone who can relate?).
After a month of YouTube addiction, I found vlogs addicting to the point that they consumed too much of my life and I had begun to get attached to watching them every day after school. Within a few days, I stopped watching vlogs, believing that it is an unhealthy and manipulative market as more and more vlogs I watched began to advertise brands that sponsored them.
But now, I see vlogs differently once more. As long as both vloggers and vlog watchers are mindful of their presence and influences online, staying true to their genuine motives and not driven by manipulative incentives, we can rewind back to the original intent of vlogging: to experience, to share, and to inspire. If this is achieved, the vlog culture can be sustained for years to come and serve as a beneficial addition to our society.
Vloggers You Should Follow
In the modern era of rapid technological progress, successful vloggers come in handfuls. Below are a few channels you should check out if you're trying to step into the vlog culture or looking for someone new to follow. The videos selected are the vloggers’ videos with the most views.
Niki and Gabi (1.2B total views): twin sisters who are opposite in both their styles and personalities, Niki and Gabi are also both active in the music industry and have opened separate YouTube channels. Their videos focus on fashion, beauty, and sister dynamics.
Maddie Lymburner (572M total views): an active and inspiring woman, Maddie runs two channels––one concentrated on health, food, and cooking and the other on fitness and exercise routines. Though she seldom updates her food channel, her fitness channel is active and effective at motivating people to stay active and fit.
Sienna Santer (37M total views): most famous for her profile as a Harvard student, Sienna shares her travel diary, morning routines, and college experiences at America's top university in her videos.
Nicole Laeno (195M total views): only 15 years old, Nicole has over 1.5M subscribers on YouTube and has built her vlogs around her daily routines, school life, and family. She is also a talented dancer and has uploaded a plethora of dance videos on her channel as well.
Erna Limdaugh (68.6M total views): an Indonesian-Korean vlogger, Erna's videos focus on beauty, travel, lifestyle, food, and music––everything involved in a teenager's ideal life.
If none of the vloggers above float your boat, this website lists 100 vloggers popular in 2020, whose videos you may find of interest. Vlogs can add a unique swing to people's lives - they are motivating, inspiring, compelling, funny, and satisfying to watch for viewers like me.
Of course, always be open to ways to relax your tired eyes and body off-screen. This article published during the beginning of quarantine last year suggests multiple interesting activities. For me, YouTube and vlog videos have been my go-to, but I have set a goal to explore other activities as well.