Videoblogging Week Day 5. I shot some stuff to post yesterday but didn’t do it. It just felt like I needed to respond to the great discussion going on in the comments of the last post and I needed some time to think about it all. And what I’m thinking so far is that maybe why so many people are having a hard time with what I’ve thrown out there is that they are looking at it from inside the TV or commercial media paradigm. The problem with that is that this is not TV. Now as human beings we are driven to make sense of things and one main way we do that is by relating new information to old information. We see video and think, “Gosh, I’ve seen video on TV. Oh, I get it. This is like TV but on the Internet.” This kind of thinking fails us because it prevents us from seeing this new thing (videoblogging) for what it really is.

Now what it really is, is really just what we agree it is. And I’ve seen a shift in what we collectively agree videoblogging is. It’s not like we got together and voted on it but as more and more voices have joined the conversation, the number of people looking at it like TV on the internet has increased and changed the dynamics of the conversation.

These experiments are an attempt at pushing back. At trying to make sense of where this all came from and where it’s all going.

If you haven’t seen it yet, you should also watch and read Jay’s “The Talking Head Argument.”

35 thoughts on “Experiment 2

  1. Verdi

    Steve Garfield left this comment on the last post. I just got around to reading it. It’s very much what I’m trying to say here.

    Steve Garfield:
    Podcasting’s pundits suffer from macro-myopia:
    http://www.rexblog.com/2006/04/06#a9970

    The discussion is about podcasting and relevant to our discussion here.

    A clip:
    “…clear your mind of “programming” metaphors and think conversations … the difference between personal media (conversation) and mass media (programming)”

  2. blips

    It was so nice talking to you. I think this was a videoblog and i liked it.
    However the first comment spoils it again. I also notice it in the yahoo videoblogging group. Always the pioneers and “self proclaimed experts” get the credit. They are not even making vlogs anymore !!! They just comment about and show other vlogs or leave a message “Give the music credit” instead of “Hey that was a nice video. how did you do that”. It is becomming a cult and who is on top of the pyramid is the one we need to believe. It is just not right to not acknowledge all the other people commenting on expirement 1.
    I do however not disagree with SG but there are so many other opinions. I decide what is a vlog for myself. It is one of the reasons I host my own vlogs I owe nobody and nobody owns me. I can do whatever expression i want and do what i want.
    Yet i need to comply with all opinions otherwise i just make vlogs to be inherited for my grandchildren and nobody will watch them. Hahaha what a world.!!

  3. Laura Moncur

    Your Experiment 1 made me angry and I wrote a rant on my own site about it. I ranted that the fact that I have advertising on my site (Google AdSense) does not change my content and actually because it pays me, it gives me more time and freedom to create.

    Then I noticed that I had taken Google AdSense off my blog because it was only paying me a couple bucks a month…

    Of course I had to add the ads back to the template so that I wouldn’t look silly…

    This argument has been going on since 1995 and I’m sick of it. Advertising is NOT bad. We’ve been using for over 10 years and not once has an advertiser tried to influence our websites. NOT ONCE. Both my husband and I maintain our websites full time. This is our job and I can tell you that I produce a lot more art now that we are paid generously than I did before online advertising paid well.

    Nike isn’t trying to appropriate your site. Adding Google AdSense won’t compromise your integrity unless you didn’t have it before. I’ve seen enough of your work to know that you’ll be just fine.

  4. Anne Walk

    well put, Michael and a lovely video too.

    Yes, as more and more corporations jump into the vlogging fray, and many more people begin to vlog, we are seeing a major shift away from videoblogging as personal communication (the webcam/journal/communication model) and moving toward “show” (the televison model)

    This makes sense for business as the television model is more receptive to advertising schema.

    The same thing has already happened with blogging (corporate blogs are far more successful in that they have larger readerships) and this is an extension of that phenomenon.

    Videoblog “shows” follow the ideological model of the “broadcast” with all that entails (increasing and maintaining viewership,entertainment,etc). It is a passive viewing model (the broad viewing audience sits back and expects/hopes to be entertained and informed by the shows they watch) The use of blogging software with it’s linkbacks and commenting abilities is a shallow reflection of social networking. Comments to a show become fan mail to a star.

    There will always be those who videoblog as a method of communication just as there are still countless blogs that operate as personal logs of daily life. They are just invisible to all but their small, personal, interacting readership.

    That, in my opinion, is the future of videoblogging.

    While I enjoy passively viewing a good show, interacting with a personal communication engages me such an intimate, emotional way that I can’t really compare the two.

    I guess it’s the difference between porn and your lover. :)

    Keep doing what you do, Michael. You make me smile.

  5. ryanne

    i like that you make people mad.
    and i don’t think you’ve ever said that advertising was bad. this is something i commented on at the above commentor’s blog. HERE:
    http://laura.moncur.org/archives/2006/04/07/angry-commercial-blogging/

    i think the point is that advertising/promoting a product IS DIFFERENT than what we’re doing on our personal blogs. thats all. we’re pointing out the DIFFERENCE and the choice people have and the choice that we’ve made. i’ve never heard you place judgement on others for using something like google adsense.
    here is a question for you verdi:
    we made a commercial vlog for peachpit. would you say that wasn’t a videoblog? i would say it was a videoblog. though it wasn’t a personal vlog, it was still a videoblog. but i catch your drift all the same.

  6. Evan

    Wonderful video Verdi. Being able to keep a kid with non-diagnosed ADHD interested in a video of this nature is quite an accomplishment. Great point. Keep up the great content. Your videos sometimes piss me off but I stay subscribed because I can tell from the videos you make that you love vlogging and you’re doing it just for the love of vlogging. You content is always well made and I appreciate it. Keep it up!

    Evan (http://e-vlog.blogspot.com)

  7. Curtis

    I’ve been watching your vlog for six months now. I’m inspired by your passion and leadership. “Experiment 2″ is my favorite of all your entries (that I’ve seen so far). I appreciate seeing such an elegant and peaceful expression. Thank you.
    Curtis

  8. Heath - Batman Geek

    It is interesting the “debate” that you started…….I am new to all of this only a few months now……I have no idea where it will all lead but part of why I do this is just to have fun….sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn’t but that is the beauty of it, I don’t “have” to please anyone, I just have to make something “I” think is good…..now don’t get me wrong, when I make somthing that I feel is good and no one says anything it does bother me a bit….but that is because I am thin skinned sometimes…..but I don’t see me stopping anytime soon because it is still fun for me…..when it’s not….I’ll stop…….if your ever in Cincinnati, let me know.. :)

  9. Josh Wolf

    Michael, great video. While I like the intimacy evoked by the approach, and could hear your voice reading the closed-captioning, I was annoyed that I couldn’t read it as fast as I would’ve liked to have read it. Which was an interesting experience.

    In regards to self-promotion, I gotta say that self-promotion is totally at the heart and core of our everyday lives and has been for probably forever.

    Yes, inviting people to hang out your house is a form of self-promotion, but that doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with it; nor is there anything wrong with being the kid in highschool who has dozens of people hanging out at his house all the time, nor is there anything wrong with being proud to be that kid.

    And think about all the new friendships, and romances that were fostered at that kids house. He’s providing an environment for connections to spring up. That should make him smile, and I hope you are smiling and are proud of the community that you’ve managed to build around your videoblog not to mention your work in building the larger videoblogging community in the first place.

  10. Verdi

    However the first comment spoils it again. I also notice it in the yahoo videoblogging group. Always the pioneers and “self proclaimed experts” get the credit. They are not even making vlogs anymore !!! They just comment about and show other vlogs or leave a message “Give the music credit” instead of “Hey that was a nice video. how did you do that”. It is becomming a cult and who is on top of the pyramid is the one we need to believe. It is just not right to not acknowledge all the other people commenting on expirement 1.

    Hey Blips,
    I don’t understand who and what you’re referencing. I certainly don’t think anyone needs to believe me. Judging from the comments so far most people aren’t buying (pun intended) what I’m saying. I just a topic that I think about often and what the hell else am I going to make videos about. This is an issue in my life right now. As far as not acknoldgeing all the ohter people – again I don’t understand. I’ve remarked at what an amazing conversation this has been. I only have so many words I can come up to try to articulate what I’m thinking. Some of that has to do with the fact that I’m thinking out loud here so to speak. I didn’t make a video on Thursday because I needed some time to absorb what people have said. I wanted to give a thoughtful reply. That’s why I made this video.

  11. Verdi Post author

    Laura,
    I don’t think advertising is bad. But I do think they get in the way of personal communitcation. I read your post and now before I can read Ryanne’s comment I have to skip over some ads.

    Maybe like, Andreas, people are taking me too literally (I should be more clear).

    I just watched Richard’s post about my first experiment and he has an excellent point. That’s it’s not so cut and dry and what maybe what would be more accurate is contex. Check out his video.

  12. Natasha Wescoat

    my “conversation about..something” video was my first attempt at trying to really naturallize the process so that it’s about realtime and not being creative all the time. AFter Experiment 1, it reminded me of the reason I started doing this. yay!!!

  13. Stuart Smith

    You know…you’re all talking and talking but the truth is that integrity isn’t influenced by advertising, and putting people down for trying to make a living out of something they love doesn’t have much integrity either

  14. Carl Weaver

    Great use of silence, Michael. I thought this was very effective. THere definitely are some places I feel are trying to sell me something. Thanks for not inviting me over to your house for an Amway meeting. No matter how much you want to make me rich.

  15. Dave H

    We don’t “hate” advertising. We hate being lied to. Advertising commonly does this in 2 ways.

    1. Ads often associate things we want (like happiness or warm family relationships) with a product for sale, which can never deliver those things we want.

    2. More to the point of this discussion: ads often present us with something that we accept and engage on non-commercial terms, even though there is a hidden commercial motivation behind it.

    For example: Ryanne’s post about American Apparel . It does make a difference whether A.A. paid her to make this post or not (they didn’t!). It simply makes a difference.

    I don’t know what the terms are (or should be) to best describe this difference. I don’t know if one is a vlog and the other is not-a-vlog. I don’t know if one is a “personal vlog” and the other is a “commercial vlog.”

    But they are not the same thing.

    It _does_ matter if someone claims to be telling you the truth but has financial motivation for persuading you of it. It _does_ matter if someone claims an opinion but is being paid to say so.

    Paid advertisment does not automatically redefine everything associated with it to be a lie. Accepting ad revenue doesn’t make anyone evil or by default untrustworthy.

    But it _does_ radically alter the terms by which we evaluate the level of trust we afford the message.

    This is foundational to any understanding of commercial media communication, and I’m frankly puzzled that there is so much resistance to this idea.

    Someone on a talk show with a book to sell is evaluated differently than someone without a book to sell. Someone running for political office backed by a tobacco lobby is evaluated differently than someone backed by an environmental lobby. Someone who is your friend out of love is evaluated differently than someone paid to be your friend. Someone poor telling you jesus loves you is evaluated differently than someone who earns huge amounts of cash telling you jesus loves you.

    Jesus may indeed love you no matter who tells you so, but that does not change the fact that how much money involved _should_ alter your basis of trust and evaluation of the messenger.

    They are not the same.

    They are different, and I support Michael’s desire to bring this to the conversation.

  16. Mary Beth

    I appreciate your silence in this video. I think it’s important to listen to people and I liked how your video slowed down the pace of thinking that many of us have.
    What’s important to me about vlogging is that I can connect with people that I wouldn’t usually connect with and share things in my life that wouldn’t usually be shared. And as you say, to have a continual conversation.

  17. sull

    regarding money…. “But it _does_ radically alter the terms by which we evaluate the level of trust we afford the message.”

    you are actually speaking for everyone though. you use ‘we’. but dont you mean to say ‘I’ ? are you speaking for me? interpreting how i may be interpreting any given piece of media that i come across and observe? you are telling me how the terms are altered for me?

    how can you possibly do this, michael? how can you get inside anyone elses head and speak for them? if you are not intending to do this, i must let you know that in your writing, it slips out.
    and, that bleeds into your very argument… your interest in defining vlog (how funny since you didnt want to do that a year ago) when you can only actually define “your vlog”. You want your vlog to be something that YOU have in mind. Thats fantastic. I wouldnt be here if i didnt like your vlog.
    But trying to play this out like your vlog is what a vlog should be…. is really just silly.

    sull

  18. Verdi Post author

    I didn’t say that Sull. Check the quote – it was Dave H. He makes a good point, you should read him again.

  19. Richard BF

    Just in response to FARMER above. You’ve put together a video to say that Michael is wrong, and that video is not about two way communication, then you reinforce the point by not providing any way for us to comment on your video. I find this partiularly amusing in light of the following quote on your own site: “For two generations, television has communicated to us – but it was always a one-way dialogue. No, with home cameras and computers, we have the potential to respond [...]”

    What you fail to understand is that this is exactly what we’re trying to do, create a two way dialogue. We’re not there yet by any means, but we are advocating it, which is by the look of it, exactly what you’re doing.

    Also, in your video you say that Michael added himself to Wikipedia. I know he didn’t, because it was me.

  20. sull

    “it was Dave H. He makes a good point, you should read him again.”

    right. i see i mentioned your name within the context of my reply, which was actually a reply to dave, you and the overall debate.

    here is the thing…. someone can make a good point and even if 99.9% of people agree, it still doesnt make it a fact moreso than a popular opinion. and because there will always be cases when money is certainly not a detriment to a piece of media/message/art, despite money having a part in some way, is enough to kill the argument i think.

    and this is the same core that i have spoken from about what a vlog is and what a vodcast is, technically, as well.
    maybe 99.9% of vlogs have a vodcast, but it doesnt make the vodcast the vlog or vise versa. they are technologically different.

    and, i also have said that just because 99.9% of vlogs were more personal video journal style (earlier on) it didnt mean that a vlog WAS a personal video journal.

    i dont believe in trying to own a word/term because at some point in the words history, “most” of “something” was apparent. a word must be allowed to evolve and absorb the other potential variables that logically can fit into place and fall under it.

    a videoblog (aka vlog) is a term that begs for a preceding adjective.

    Personal Videoblog
    Experimental Art Videoblog
    Music Videoblog
    Business Videoblog
    Sports Videoblog
    Comedy Videoblog
    World News and Culture Videoblog
    Education Videoblog (is freevlog is vlog?)

    If I were to buy into your idea of what a vlog is and so on, I would also have to go to my vlog directory and tell a bunch of people “Nice try! You’re outta here with your wannabe vlog! Seeya!”

    These thoughts are my most common on the subject and why to me, it seems silly to tighten up ‘vlog’ to mean something instead of ANYTHING.

    sull

  21. Brett

    I liked that approach better than Experiment #1 (I have no desire to smash anything). I have also had these sort of “video conversations”, but I don’t think they are, for me, at the heart of what videoblogging is. Sometimes I do one, sometimes I dont. Sometimes I want to promote something, sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I make a music video, sometimes I make a tourist thing, etc. Its much more important to me that i can do it, and that I have an audience thanks to the technology, and that I have a community to talk about it with, than what the content of a) or b) videoblog will be, or even less important, if its called a videoblog at all.

    I mean, you’ve always said you’ve supported yourself as an artist for 14 years, so why is this question troubling you so much? Lets face it – the technology of videoblogging is really just a combination of other technologies and modes of representation. There is nothing all that new here – its just there are more opportunities. So all the great work you do will always be able to be made, your audience will only grow, and you’ll only have more cool people to talk to. So what if someone else in New York is making money using similar technologies and grabs a larger percentage of public consciousness? Who, really, gives a shit? It’s like saying its a travesty that more people read Stephen King than Jean Paul Sartre, or more people eat Kraft Dinner than a green salad. Its just the way the world always has, always will, and really isn’t that horrible in being. Your way of looking at the world, or the work of those whose work you admire and respect, is under no threat.

    Sorry for the rant.

  22. Jen

    I have so much to say about all this. Too much to say with the tiny amount of free time I’ve got these days…. It actually pisses me off that so many people are trying to figure out whether or not it’s ok to be just like the corporate media / trying to find the word to justify copycatting the ad-driven, formula tv world.

    Why does it upset me? Because I believe something else so much bigger than all that is possible. Voices to be heard. Real reality to be shared. Ideas and people and thoughts we haven’t even thought of yet. Every once in a while I see a vlogger who’s doing something amazing, who’s onto something really great. Today it was this. Irene I hope you are Mixe really do go do what you are planning. Go blow all this people trying to justify doing the same old crap right out of the water.

  23. sull

    jen, cheers to that. and indeed Irene’s project is excellent.

    i watch very little TV… usually i think it just sucks. their are of course some exceptional programs. more importantly, i realize the impact TV has had on the world and how its cultural history is nothing short of revolutionary in so many ways.

    TV is a powerful medium.

    a videoblog is poweful medium.

    vodcasts allow the videoblog medium to work more like the TV medium.

    the message is the medium

    shitty content is everywhere.

    the end :)

  24. missbhavens

    Sweet magic 8-ball, why does this freak people out so much? Definitions, advertising, tv, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. It astounds me.

    V, I enjoyed your silent conversation.

  25. blips

    Now I looked at it again. Now I like it!, Why? Because now I was relaxed, not mad at anybody, not at my provider, not at a stupid email, not at my wife. How mood can influence your opinion.

  26. guerrilla radio

    Letter to George Bush

    Perhaps I’m getting bigheaded, but I want to write to George Bush.

    “ Open letter to George Bush.

    I’m just a comic and you are a great president at the head of a great and powerful nation. Furthermore, you are also a great friend of our former President of the Council with whom you have many points in common: the Atlantic vision in place of the pacific one, great riches, the exportation of democracy with or without weapons, the personalisation of politics.
    Allow me, very humbly, to ask you for an account of your behaviour in relation to Italy and the Italians.
    Prodi has won the elections. Heads of State of many nations and the President of the European Community have sent their congratulations to him.
    You are almost the only one who hasn’t done this.
    And, in this situation, our former President of the Council does not recognise the election result thanks to your support.
    You continue to not recognise Prodi as the legitimate winner, elected in free elections.
    They were elections managed by the Minister of the Interior as a member of the Government in power.
    They were elections in which voting went on according to a liberticida (liberty killing) election law guided through Parliament by your friend and in this case, your voice as a defender of democracy has not been heard.
    You are not showing yourself to be a friend of our country and you are probably not even acting in the interests of your country.
    If you don’t recognise Prodi, why should Italians recognise you? I believe and hope that your behaviour is simply a temporary institutional distraction. If this is not the case, Italians should ask themselves a few questions.

    Why should we allow American Military Bases to be in our country?
    Why should we tolerate the presence of American atomic weapons at Ghedi Torre, Brescia and at Aviano, Pordenone?
    Why should we allow CIA agents to move around our country as though they were visiting your great ranch in Texas?
    Why should we provide finance to a country that at this moment is hostile to us by buying American products, eating in American chains, supporting American companies in Italy?
    I’m sure the Italians will know how to find the answers.”

    Vik (guerrilla radio)
    italian blogger from Milan

  27. Monika

    I loved, loved, loved this… ’cause you articulated how I feel about my vlog. It’s like my house. And I love it when friends just hang out at my house. And I think it’s cool that someone from Australia can come to my “house” and maybe I can offer them a “beer” (or a cool link, or a joke or a post that makes them say “yeah, I hear THAT!” or “Those yanks are weird!”). Or that I can go to someone else’s “house” in Nottingham or San Antonio or LA or Manhattan and hang with them when I am procrasinating on my homework.

    BTW I haven’t been following the backstory here at all… this is just my knee jerk reaction to this post. Forgive me if I am not fully informed.

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