Vlogging. It’s such a cringe of a word, isn’t it? Associated so closely with lonely, bedroom-based life-casters crying into their keyboards. So, I’m going to stick with ‘videos’, and save you from the linguistic equivalent of fingernails down a chalkboard.
I wrote about the rising trend for videos and video-makers a while back, and it’s not gone away. If anything, it’s grown into a fully-fledged and viable commercial entity. It turns out these girls are making serious coin - a flurry of recent articles cited numbers in the hundreds of thousands. Zoella - a British video maker who’s known for her Primark fashion hauls and up-do how-to’s - was interviewed in the FT, ffs.
Let’s assume, then, that this is going to be a “thing”. That what’s currently limited to young girls talking about concealer, will expand to a broader demographic of makers and audiences. That what’s boosting loyalty and driving up demand, is bound to be adopted by a wider selection of brands and products. That what’s making money is going to keep making money. Except, it’s going to take a while because, let’s face it, it’s a bloody weird thing to do.
As soon as the technological and financial barriers to entry for writing came down, so did our fear of doing it. In a few, short years, everyone got seriously comfortable with their short-form content publishing channels of choice - merrily blogging, Facebook updating, and Tweeting away. The same can’t be said for video. The hardware and software is just as readily at our fingertips, and yet we struggle to push the red button and go big with Vine, Instagram video, or YouTube. People do do it, but it’s millions of them, not billions.
The obvious answer, you’d think, is shyness and lack of self-confidence. It takes guts to plonk yourself down in front a camera and chat away for 5 to 10 minutes, without worrying about bad angles or poor lighting. And yet, the one thing that the leading video makers share, is an admission to anxiety. Sammi (aka BeautyCrush) speaks often about her crushing social phobias, as do many of the others with subscribers in the millions. So, perhaps, it’s a certain personality type - ones that lean towards the introverted end of the spectrum - that find YouTube appealing. Within the safety of the 16:9 aspect ratio, video makers have full control over how they present themselves to the world.
A new way of selling is unfolding, but it could not be further from the “BANG! And the dirt is gone!” world of shouty, extroverted ad types. This revolution is in the whispers from behind closed doors. Only there’ll be no more crying into keyboards - they’re laughing all the way to the bank.