Monday, November 28, 2005

Vlogger or Not

As one who already spends his every weekday crafting mundanity into bite-size television, vlogging ain't got too much appeal. Not that I have anything against citizen journalism of the video variety, I'd just rather not partake in it after a long hard day of shoving life through a tube. I'd much rather barricade myself in my upstairs lair, spin some Etta James and wait for that voice in my head to start talking. Once it does, the rest is dictation. But while I struggle with the muse in my fortress of solitude, the world is changing - and quickly.

Take vlogging. A year ago it was still a perplexing twist on a new buzzword; today it's a thriving grassroots communications platform with its own subculture, vernacular and deities. While I've been fullfilling my destiny as the 'Walter Mitty of TV news photographers', loners, geeks and hipsters have allowed their lenses and laptops to copulate, producing a nerdy offspring that threatens to render previous generations obsolete. Why, it's enough to make this uncloseted wordaholic feel a smidge behind the times. And just when I was about to order all those 'Viewfinder BLUES' virtual t-shirts...

Oh well. If I can't summon the energy to fire off a video-epistle every now and then, the least I can do is tell you what little I know of the burgeoning form. First of all, it's easy. No matter the vintage of your camcorder, it's surprisingly simple to shoot, edit and store your thoughts on-line. With free media archives like Ourmedia and Pix Party, you can upload edited footage without knowing much more than which box to click. But be prepared to share. Since Weaver parked the Maximum Overdrive video on Pix Party, it's been viewed a whopping 24,173 times! That's not due to an extensive ad campaign mind you, but rather to legions of internet surfers who think it's fun to watch pesky camera crews run for their very lives. Can't say I disagree, really.

Another thing you'll want to know about vlogging. It's making some otherwise mortal humans frightfully popular on-line. If that doesn't interest you in the least, turn in your narcissism card and leave the internet immediately - there's nothing for you here. For those of you still reading, I offer a newly-minted compound word that'll help explain everything. Rocketboom. I know, the sound of it makes about as much sense as 'google', but trust me. Or better yet, trust Weaver, as my partner in crime has been raving about this daily webcast ever since he began hitching rides on the information superthingamajingie. After some resistance, I myself tuned in and am now inexorably hooked on this quirky dispatch, and not just because host Amanda Congdon is the most fetching cybergeek this side of the digital divide.

So let's review. Vlogging is on the verge of hitting critical mass, thanks to user-friendly software, free sites, a few viewfinder pioneers and a little invention callled the video iPod. You may not want to watch stale TV episodes on a handheld screen, but those college kids snickering behind you at Starbucks? That's no transistor radio they're staring at. Like alot of new media revolutions, it's got a funny know, like '8-track' 'VCR' and 'cell phone'. You'll get the hang of it - but by then, they'll be something else on the horizon, like flying cars, moving sidewalks and telephones with picture screens...

Just remember where you heard it first...

1 comment:

in-gun-ear said...

Yeah, EVERYBODY wants to be an anchor.

My question is, who is behind RocketBoom? The non-professional editing is too professional and the stories are too well written for a closet newsy who has never done it before. Me thinks there is more here than meets the Amanda eye!

My biggest complaint, GET SOME SONEX IN THAT ROOM! The acoustics sounds like she is in a toilet!

And while you at it, STOP BANGING THE TABLE and QUIT SQUIRMING IN THE CHAIR! You are giving the real newsies a bad name when you imitate them like that! Other than that, nice eye candy!