Is Vlogging The New Blogging?

Is Vlogging The New BloggingHas video killed the blogging star? Sarah Dobbs looks into the vlogging phenomenon and tries to work out how you too can become a famous vloggerRemember when the first internet celebrities started to cross over into mainstream culture? First there were a few MySpace musicians who signed record deals, and then there was the great blogger book deal extravaganza that kicked off in about 2006, where any blogger with more than a few readers suddenly had a book on the table in Waterstones. Now, though, it’s vloggers who are starting to become properly famous.The obvious example here is Zoe Sugg, aka Zoella. She started out as a blogger back in 2009, and soon launched a YouTube channel to go along with her fashion and beauty posts. Her cheery personality and cute videos soon attracted a following, but there was some real substance beneath the fluff, and her videos about dealing with anxiety brought her to the attention of mental health charity Mind, who made her their digital ambassador in 2013. Looking back, that might’ve been an early indication that Zoella had some serious reach.
Her YouTube channel continued to grow in popularity as Zoella worked with other vloggers and brands. Now, in 2015, she’s published a novel, she’s launched a range of her own Zoella-branded beauty products, and she sang on the Band Aid 30 single, alongside Ed Sheeran, One Direction, and Bono. She even has her own waxwork at Madame Tussauds in London. She might not be a household name to many people over 30 but, well, it’s hard to deny that she’s pretty damn successful.
She’s far from the only one; there are plenty of other names who kick-started a media career with just a camera and an internet connection. Shane Dawson is carving out a career as a director and actor in feature films; Brittany Furlan has her own TV sketch show in production; Tanya Burr has her own makeup line and published a non-fiction book on beauty; and comedians Anthony Padilla and Ian Hecox (better known as Smosh) have their own movie and now get recognised by hysterical fans in the street. The list goes on. Online video stars are more than just the new bloggers – they’re the new media personalities, full stop.
So how did we get here? When did video start taking over the internet and, perhaps just as importantly, how can you get in on the action?Asking why people want to watch videos rather than read blog posts is a bit like asking why people would want to watch a film rather than read a book. Maybe not everyone does, and maybe not all the time, but most of us would probably cop to spending more time watching telly than reading. So, from an audience point of view, there’s nothing surprising there.
The reason it hasn’t taken off before now is down to a couple of technological factors. Probably the most obvious one is that internet speeds have increased dramatically over the past decade. Before broadband was so widespread, downloading a video would’ve been so time-consuming and used up so much bandwidth hardly anyone would’ve wanted to bother – and even fewer would want to try uploading videos. Now that broadband and even superfast fibre broadband connections are pretty commonplace, it’s become totally normal to stream entire movies, so five-minute vlog clips don’t provide any barrier to entry whatsoever.
Another factor is that digital cameras have become much, much cheaper and better quality than they used to be, so you no longer have to be an expert to make decent-looking videos, and the other is that most people have got a basic video camera in their pocket already – you just call it your phone. Smartphones make the whole process extremely simple: you can shoot on your phone, use an app to edit the video, and then upload it to the internet without ever having to touch a computer or learn your way around a complicated video editing suite.
Sure, most of the vloggers who’ve become famous off the back of their work use more advanced set ups than that – including proper lighting rigs and microphones, in some cases – but the point is that there’s nothing to stop you getting started, as long as you’ve got a smartphone and an idea.
Assuming that you have got those two things, where do you start if you wanna be the next Alfie Deyes or Phil Lester? The obvious answer here is ‘YouTube’ but, actually, it might not be as obvious as all that. While YouTube is the biggest video platform out there, if you just want to start by dipping a toe in the water – and don’t want to commit to spending hours recording and editing videos – you might wanna try something quicker and simpler. Like Vine.
Vine is a smartphone app that lets you record six second-long videos. To record a video, all you have to do is hold down the button on screen. There are some basic editing functions built in, and you don’t have to record six seconds continuously; you can record a series of shorter clips and then rearrange them into one blink-and-you-might-miss-it masterpiece. Six seconds doesn’t sound like a lot, and it isn’t, but at the same time, it’s just long enough for a fantastic visual gag, or soundbite, and the ever-growing army of Viners with millions of loyal followers shows it’s definitely long enough to prove you’re talented.
Vine does let users import videos from other sources, so if you are a video editing whizz – or think you might want to become one – you can film and edit your stuff in other programs or on different cameras before uploading it to your account. It’s a good place to start testing material, and gauging whether anyone’s interested.
Vine isn’t your only option for lowcommitment video-making, either. Facebook and Twitter have added video hosting capabilities to their platforms recently, so you can make and share videos with your existing friends and followers if you want. Instagram, too, will let you upload video, though there is a 15-second limit on Instagram videos.
If you do want to do longer form stuff, though, then you probably will end up back at YouTube.
So, let’s talk about YouTube. The Googleowned video sharing site is a behemoth, with more than a billion users watching millions of hours of videos every day. That means there’s an audience there, if you want to get your videos in front of people’s faces, but also that there’s a lot of competition.
Still, YouTube isn’t the biggest site for no reason. It’s pretty easy to use, and if you already have a Google account, you’re already signed up. Setting up a channel is simple, and it’s easy to subscribe to other people’s channels – which, if you want to make a go of this vlogging thing, you’re definitely going to want to do. Networking is everything, and YouTube’s got a massive community ready and waiting for you to jump in.
It might not be the most welcoming community on the internet, though. YouTube commenters can be cruel. Things aren’t as bad as they used to be – YouTube comments used to have a reputation for being one of the worst cesspits on the internet, full of spam and trolls – but thanks to a concerted effort on Google’s behalf to link YouTube commenting identities to people’s real identities, and added powers for video makers to remove crappy comments from their stuff, it’s not that bad any more. But you still can’t expect a warm welcome from everyone, so bear that in mind if you’re planning to start uploading stuff.
Honestly, getting started with vlogging is a lot like getting started with blogging used to be, back in the early 2000s. It’s just that now you need to get your head around some basic video editing skills rather than writing skills. But blogging is different now, too, than it was in the beginning. Photos are now a vital and central part of all popular bloggers’ content, so it seems like we’ve all become far more concerned with visuals than we once were.
This isn’t the place to tell you what you should be making videos about – and if I knew how to become the next vlogging sensation I’d do it myself before writing about it! – but it might be worth taking a moment to look at a very important reason you might want to think about making YouTube videos: money.
Famous vloggers can make serious bank from their YouTube views, but there are a few criteria you’ll need to meet before you can start thinking about monetising your content. The first thing to be aware of is that there are certain kinds of content you can’t monetise – basically, anything you don’t own the copyright to, and anything violent or sexually explicit. Only advertiser-friendly videos containing stuff you’ve filmed and created yourself qualifies. YouTube has detailed criteria on exactly what is and isn’t eligible for their partner programme, which you can find on
However, assuming you’re like the YouTube success stories we’ve mentioned so far and mostly film yourself talking about or making things, then you should be eligible. The process isn’t particularly arduous, but there are a lot of checks set up along the way. First you need to enable Monetisation in your account settings; then you need to click the check box for ‘Monetise my video’ on every video you want to stick adverts on. Then YouTube will choose to approve ads on your videos or not.
If you are approved, then you’ll start to earn a percentage of advertising revenue based on how many people see and click on the ads displayed on your videos. It’s not exactly revolutionary; it’s basically how all online content providers earn money. And to make money, you will need an audience, which is the tricky part. Because there’s so much content and so many vlogging hopefuls on YouTube, the chances of breaking in are slim. It can happen, though, and sometimes to the most unlikely content. (‘Charlie bit my finger’ is just one example).
The barriers to becoming famous – and rich, and successful – have been knocked down in all kinds of industries. The internet has made it easier for all kinds of people to make their voices heard, which should be an unambiguously good thing. You don’t need rich parents or a private school education to succeed in blogging or vlogging (or any number of other creative pursuits), because the tools and distribution methods are open to everyone.
But. and isn’t there always a but? Not everyone who can make videos will end up being able to make a living at it. Just as some of the most talented novelists won’t ever be able to give up their day jobs, or the greatest artists – some of who may find their stuff gets hundreds of thousands of reblogs on Tumblr – can’t raise enough money to pay their bills, what makes one vlogger, Viner or Instagrammer successful is still as mysterious as what makes one singer a chart-topper while another never gets beyond their local pub’s open mic night. No matter how cheap cameras get and how simple video editing software becomes, not everyone who wants to will be able to become a successful filmmaker or even telly personality.
It seems pretty certain, though, that we’re going to see a lot more online video makers breaking through. The medium is here to stay, and it’s only growing more popular and more profitable every day. The way we, as a society, consume media is constantly shifting, and according to YouTube’s most recent stats, YouTube Mobile alone reaches more of the 18-34 demographic than any cable network in America. That’s a lot of young people.
It makes sense, really. We’re talking about a generation that’s grown up without ever knowing a time without internet – and a demographic that can watch videos on their phones or laptops without worrying whether they’re safe for work. In short, then? The future of entertainment is shortform online videos, and the future of celebrity is young, web-savvy, and probably wielding a selfie stick.

7Review earns Amazon affiliate commissions from qualifying purchases. You can support the site directly via Paypal donations ☕. Thank you!
We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.