Experiment

Videoblogging Week 2006 – Day 3 (I’m late again – unless you live in a time zone west of here). Anyway, this is something I’ve been thinking about more and more lately. For more than a year now people have been playing my Vlog Anarchy post where I say it’s too early to define videoblogging. Now I see things like iTunes TV show downloads and videoblogs that are created to make money rather than communicate starting to alter the course of the public conversation. I say those kinds of things are not videoblogging. So now I think it’s time to take a stand and start staking out some videoblogging territory. This is just the first part.
BTW, this video reminds me of two others by my co-conspiritors. If you haven’t seen these you should. They make similar but distinct points about this issue.
Momentshowing: A Videoblog Circa 2006
Ryanne’s Video Blog: Digital Bonnie And Clyde

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45 thoughts on “Experiment

  1. This video has many facets and connotations, and this theme/subject matter isn’t as straight forward (like many things) as an A or B, us vs. them dichotomy.

    You make a great point here, and are very concise, which I appreciate, but there is always going to be a certain amount of branding that goes with michaelverdi.com (and all of us as well) and putting these clips side by side makes it even more clear.

    It’s the nature of the beast, by putting your tag/brand at the end of a video, you are in a way advertising michaelverdi.com and promoting every endeavor you’re associated. Don’t get me wrong, there are huge differences between the two clips, but there are also amazing similarities, ones that attempt to achieve the same goal.

    The Carp Caviar promo game spoke volumes on this, it was an epiphany for me, that there is no difference between promoting yourself and promoting Carp Caviar. I’ve been producing CC for 3 months now, and these are the same themes I’ve been touching on, and attempting to subvert. They’re all related…clip A is clip B’s cousin.

  2. So now you’re saying it’s time to define videoblogging?

    To define videoblogging as non-commercial?

    Video blogs are not defined by the content, but by their form, which is video on a blog.

    You also bring up iTunes and TV show downloads. A majority of that is just alternative distribution for content with no connection to videoblogging.

    Apple calls it video podcasting. It’s video being sent down an RSS feed for distributon.

    It’s disconcerting to arrive at sites that make you subscribe to an iTunes feed to see the content. They are asking for a commitment, a subscription, without even allowing you to go on a date first.

    Another thing that we should be discussing is how sites like YouTube and Google Video are going to affect community.

  3. See here’s the thing. People think that the purpose of a TV show, let’s take Lost for example, is to inform or entertain us – in this case it’s a mystery about people standed on an island. In fact a TV show’s main purpose is to get you to watch commercials because that’s how the TV business makes it’s money. And making money is it’s primary reason for existing. As public companies they have a responsibility to produce a profit. Something like Lost is a creative solution to the problem of “how do we get more people watching so our commercials will sell for more money?” Don’t get me wrong, I love watching Lost but I’m clear about it’s purpose – MONEY. When you bring money into the proposition, you have altered the context. By altering the context you have changed the content. Look a cup full of coffee is one thing. That same coffee in a puddle on the ground is something else. Same coffee – different context. So, yes, I’m taking a stand and saying that videoblogs are non-commercial.

    Am I promoting my videoblog by putting my URL at the end? Sure. I’m also letting people know where the video came from since most people don’t know what a permanent link is. The thing is, I’m not selling anything. Nike is. My only agenda is to communicate with you – not to produce a profit for my shareholders. It’s a different context.

  4. I can’t say I agree with this, Michael. What do you do with a show that is not commercial, like…let’s say…Chasing Windmills? And what do you do with a videoblog that places an ad in the last frame, does it suddenly cease being a videoblog?
    Having said that, I think Garfield’s approach is too simplistic. CW is video posted on a blog, and I would not call it a videoblog.
    I think of the videoblog as a descendant of the blog. By this I mean, it is a personal site that chronicles events in the life of a person, or a group. It is a diary, and in my head, it is this link to the diary form that defines the videoblog. When all is said and done, it is a log.
    In this scenario, “vod” becomes the most general term to describe video on the web, since that is the one quality all video on the web shares, and which separates it from the formats and mediums that preceded it.
    Videoblogs are a type of vod.
    My problem with categorization through commercialism in a hopelessly consumerist society is that the line becomes impossible to define. What do we qualify as advertising? A standard ad? An exchange of money? What do we do with special interest vlogs designed to influence our opinion about abortion, or family values, or the war in Iraq? Is this not a form of advertising? Any political action group would be more than willing to design a videoblog if they decided it would effectively spread their message. And how hard would it be? You take “Drinking with Bob,” you give him Pat Buchanan’s brain and you let him ramble on about closing our borders. How do we spot the real crazy Pat Buchanan wannabe, from the manufactured version funded by a right wing group to endorse a particular agenda.
    Adding to the problem is the fact that we cannot even define what the commercialization line is even amongst ourselves. The michaelverdi.com sign at the end of your video leads to your website, where you sell node101 t-shirts, hype Vloggercon, and endorse the impeachment of Bush. (Don’t get me wrong, I’m for all three, but you get my point. We’re all selling something.)

    take care,

  5. The difference, Michael, is in the NIKE brand. We are repulsed by the corporate logo mudding up a very personal/family moment. But what if you owned a shoe store and put this up as a way of advertizing your little shop. What if your shop used a vlog to communicate in a personal way. Perhaps not as interesting, but still a vlog.

    What if this were a fundraising ad for a school- to build a new race track?

    Or to extend the discussion, what if Chasing Windmills had a logo link to sell… I don’t know…props from the episodes, t-shirts whatever…

    What we hate is the impersonal (NIKE) stamped on the personal. We should NOT HATE COMMERCE!

    To take this position, is to loose the potential of alternative/DIY economies and markets to challenge the impersonal and corporate markets. Markets are essential to culture, always have been. And with the many ways videoblogging can change our culture, leaving out the exchange of money as criteria for a definition of “vlogging” is very limiting and self-defeating.

    “Commercialism” has grown thorns because, in a scarce economy, the market becomes a battleground for attention. Lying becomes the norm. But, what if rich alternative markets are born out of videoblogging – clearly an abundant and limitlessly creative playing field, where family videos and PSAs and artists and small businesses can thrive.

    In other words, you’ve just made another vital vlog statement that should and will be discussed for a long time. Cheers!

  6. Clip A and B the same thing on different levels. Nike is huge and sells items Michaelverdi.com isn’t yet and sells ideas.

    Will has an excellent point. Therein lies the power of videoblogging – to bring forth new alternatives to hold bigger companies accountable. I don’t mind that a vlog has an ad. To the contrary, if Nike were to approach you with thousands of dollars to put their logo on a video you created I would wonder why you wouldn’t use that money to do good with it – even if it’s making a video slamming Nike, it would show them, right? :)

    It’s not like traditional advertising where you have a sales team cold calling companies for ad space – the company is coming to you – and that says a lot about the shift that is taking place. You are not creating content for Nike, Nike is coming to you because of whatever reason and you get to *choose* the best solution. They come on board knowing full well what you’re about, and if you make a video that opposes one of their philosophies – they’re gone and you continue making your videos.

    TV Shows aren’t really created in the way you describe. Writers pitch producers with their ideas and if the idea seems like it would get an audience and does well during pilot season, it gets picked up. A sales team gets implemented and they get to work on procuring ads based on the presumed demographic. If that demographic doesn’t watch, the show tanks and gets pulled. If the show isn’t being watched, the commercials don’t get watched. So in that regard, the show still comes first. Which gives us a clue as to how much power the people DO have. Power we never seem to use.

    I understand the concern, but I ultimately know there are better solutions. We’re not fully realizing what’s happening here it seems. Companies are coming to the videoblogger. What does that mean? A freakin’ lot. There is no sales team here. And at that point it’s basically up to the individual how they use that power.

    As for me, you better believe I’d take that money, and then I’d propagate Node 101 – oh wait. ;)

    Also, how many times have we said Nike here – shouldn’t someone be getting paid? Especially with you’re viewership!

  7. More clarification. I don’t hate commerce. I’m just saying advertising changes the context. Not good. Not bad. Different. It should have a different name. Call it VOD if you want or WebTV, whatever. I’m saying videoblogging is about communitcation. If advertising is involved you can’t be sure that what I’m saying is an ad or not. Michaelverdi.com is my site – controlled by me. You can believe that everything you see there is real (unless I say otherwise). It the difference between asking your friend what camera you should by or the guy at the camera store. Your friend you can trust because they have no commercial agenda. The salesperson at the store is not the same. Sure the conversation you have with each could be termed communication (or if we’re talking videoblogs – video in a blog) but they are fundamentally different.

  8. To Steve: “It’s disconcerting to arrive at sites that make you subscribe to an iTunes feed to see the content.”

    Those iTunes links do not force you to subscribe, the simply launch iTunes and show you the iTMS content page for the show. You can simple press “Download” beside any of the episodes to preview them individually.

  9. Perhaps this clash of the personal vs. impersonal is why Revver.com has not really taken off well. When you’re asking people to upload their personal videos, whether home movies, videoblogs, or independent artistic creations, something doesn’t sit right with the clash of an impersonal advertisement or product placement. It seems disingenuine. Now, there is nothing wrong with advertisements or commercial endorsements… but it seems out of place in a personal video that is not about that as its primary subject matter.

  10. To FFSTV:

    You say, “Those iTunes links do not force you to subscribe, the simply launch iTunes and show you the iTMS content page for the show. You can simple press “Download” beside any of the episodes to preview them individually.”

    Hey! You are right. I had to scroll way over to the right to see that. I’d been under the impression that you had to subscribe first. Has this feature been there all along?

  11. Check out rexblog’s post:

    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)”

  12. I’ve been following these comments with interest,particularly the idea that your website address at the end of the video constitutes a logo (personal commerce).

    In a very broad sense, everything that we do constitutes commerce. Taking out the trash is a form of commerce.

    To me, the site address at the end of the video is a link, a signature, and, yes, in an age where everything is branded, a personal brand.

    The difference (again, to me) is the difference between a signed photo and a magazine ad.

    A signed photograph may be “branded” with the identity of the artist but not in the same way that a photograph overlaid with a company logo. It could be the same photograph but the context of it has changed. The former is the product (call it intellectual capital, art, whatever). The latter is a sign that points to other products (be they objects, services, ideas).

    I think the lines blur online when the media is both the product (a self contained video object) and a pointer (via the signature/link)to other products.

    As for what does or does not constitute a videoblog…that’s far more complicated. We still haven’t defined a blog (and I don’t believe that we ever will). I will say that I prefer the definition of both a blog and a videoblog to be a log or online diary.

    I don’t despise commerce or online shows at all. It does, however, make me sigh a little sigh when I see how quickly the tide turns from personal journaling to “user content” Current TV commercials and YouTube as the new “trailer” park.

    sigh.

  13. I have to say this is one of the best discussions on a blog that I’ve ever seen – so thanks for that.

    I like Josh’s idea of the clash of the personal vs. the impersonal. And I agree that there is nothing wrong with advertisements or personal endorsements. There can certainly be a gray area but if you look hard enough I think you can distinguish some things. For example, a while back I made a video called Mary. I had too reasons for making that video – 1. I like Mary – she’s a character and I thought interviewing her would make a fun videoblog. 2. She bought the car I want (minus the racing stripes) and I thought it would be fun to talk to her and get a ride in her car at the same time. Now, some people suggested that that video would have made a great commercial for Mini. Maybe so but that’s not what it was intended to be and that fact is probably what people were referring to when they said it would make a good ad. Now, here is Gabe & Gabe videoblogging for Mini. That’s fundamentally different. Why shouldn’t it be called something else?

  14. One thing I’d like to say about this notion of branding or selling something even if nothing is really being sold – the idea that visibility counts as being commercial. I don’t totally disagree but I do think there is a difference between contributing to culture and profiting from culture. I’m a member of a theater company, Jump-Start, which is a non-profit, 501(c)3 corporation. Part of the responsibility of an organization like that is to contribute to the common good. So we do our work writing and performing things that aren’t viable, commercially, especially in a town like San Antonio. The reason we are able to do this is because it’s recognized by society that things like this are for the common good and should be made available to people even if the work is unable to pay for itself. Being a non-profit doesn’t mean we don’t sell things or brand our work or even advertise. The difference is we’re not commercializing culture, we’re contributing to it. So putting the Jump-Start logo on a flyer or on the end of a video is a much different thing than the Nike logo. I feel that the “branding” we do as videobloggers is like that. It’s like a painter signing a painting. Also, if you didn’t put that on your videos you’d never get any attribution when your stuff got sucked into something like YouTube. I want attribution because I want to communicate with people. I can’t do that if we can’t find each other.

  15. I know it’s been said, but I want to reiterate how awesome of a conversation this is. Good job everyone! :)

    I just had a few brief questions/thoughts (hope I’m not repeating much, I tried to be careful of that):

    1. I’m new to video blogging, so perhaps I’m a bit naive, but why do we need to define videoblogs? Who does this benefit? Why does it matter?

    That being said…

    2. Michael, I see your point regarding the idea that if an ad is placed on a videoblog, we can’t be sure of whether or not the content of the video is true. I think that is a very good point, and I largely agree with it. But at the same time, and I’m not intending to take this on a long philosophical quest, but how can we know something on a “videoblog” is true? For example, I filmed a speech given by Becky Lourey put it on my vlog and then strongly endorsed her. I stated:

    “After meeting Becky and hearing her speak, I can tell you this woman is what Minnesota needs [in a governor].”

    How is anyone to know if this is true? Who am I to make such statements? Why should anyone honor that as “the truth?” I certainly have biases…I’m a democrat, and I am family friends with the candidate. Of course, my political beliefs largely coincide with hers as well. I have an interest in whether or not people vote for her. I’m not trying to gain any money from such an advertisement, but I do care a lot about it. I think her future policies will give me a better quality of life. Any company has an interest in selling a product to make more money. I think that both are forms of communication, but one should be skeptical of what people, the media, and companies say. You don’t have to be, but it’s probably a good idea to a certain extent right?

    3. I also am curious if what a lot of this comes down to is the issue of a shared mistrust of large corporations. We all have a tendency to be skeptical of large corporations and rightly so. But, I would like to know what you all think about a smaller company videoblogging. Again, for example I recently started http://www.thedomeblog.com for my mom’s fiance’s geodesic domehome building business. The hope is that the blog/videoblog will provide accurate information to people about what it is like to live in a dome as well as answer questions about domes in general. Obviously, I would hope that people would choose to buy a dome and that they would choose to buy from my mom’s fiance’s company, whose name and logo is featured on the site. However, the information that we’re providing is not necessarily geared at all toward selling this company’s domes, but to get people excited and interested in dome. I feel that I’m providing valuable information by communicating to interested parties the information that they would want to know and that they came to learn about. So could this be considered videoblogging, despite it’s commercial end goals?

  16. I’m not even going to read all the crap everyone is saying about you being wrong. I think you made a great point. One that I have been thinking about as well. Ads are what separate vlogs from “vodcasts”. Some say that a vlog is just a blog with the commenting option. According to Webster’s dictionary: “an online diary or chronology of thoughts” is a blog. A vlog is a blog with video. Thus most of the “vodcasts” who concentrate on solely humor in a “mini show” aren’t chronologically showing progression of life and that is a vodcast in my opinion. Itunes has finally separated the money hounds from the people who do it for the love of producing content and communicating with others. Vodcasts and their adds!

  17. One day I got real sick and started wretching uncontrollably behind the garage.

    Luckily I had a camera and videotaped the entire thing.

    For 50 bucks I’ll put anyone’s logo at the end of it before I post it on myspace.

    ANY TAKERS?????

  18. All right Michael, I agree with you that clip B is a commericial; but I’m not sure I can agree with you that it isn’t a videoblog.

    After all, if Nike were to make an blog (text-based), would we really be able to say that it wasn’t a blog because it was nothing more than an advertisement. I don’t think we could. To the same extent, is not a corporate videoblog still a videoblog?

    I agree 100% with you in regards to what you are saying about this medium as a commercial one, as Bill Hicks said in reference to established actors, “You do a commercial, you’re off the artistic rollcall for life,” but I can’t personaly deny these commercial projects as being vlogs.

    If vlogs are a form of personal journalism, then I would agree that they stop being journalistic at the point that they become enmeshed with corporate branding; but then again my local news does product placement now and only a few people seemed bothered by that turn of events.

    Suffice it to say that I share your discontent with this commercialized turn of events, but I think you were right last year: “Why does it have to be this person or that person? Why not all of us?”

    Like it or not, “all of us,” includes the corporations; just as you said, “you can’t do shit about that.” Or maybe we can…

    hmm…

  19. Great points all around.

    I think that the diversity of perspectives packed within this thread is metaphor for how blurred the lines are around this issue.

    Being paid to be a flack for someone without disclosing that there is a financial relationship is key element — transparency is essential. I agree with Verdi there is a different context between the two, and my hope would be that connected people can become a counterweight to the selfish monied interests that are out there.

    So I think that there is an important distinction to make between huge corporations that are only concerned with their bottom-line at the cost of everything else, and socially responsible companies who take into account the environment, the social impact of their product and their relationship to the local communities. Bloggers, podcasters and videobloggers should be recommending that people support the types of companies that have more than one bottom-line — whether they’re paid or not.

    Finally, I’m not optimistic that there will be a universal consensus for what should be considered a “videoblog.” The meaning of “blog” is going to be decided by the culture, and I think that this cat is already out of the bag.

  20. In my world, which has been greatly impacted by video blogging and the vlogging community in the past few months since I’ve really gotten started, vlogging is about conversation, which was Verdi’s original point, I believe, and one I think we tend to overlook sometimes. I don’t think anyone would argue that people don’t love comments and knowing that they have an audience, but what I find more important are the conversations and relationships that grow from these strangely mediated yet open interactions.

    For me, vlogging has become a way to express myself and simutaneously get editing experience that a graduate film program is sort of lacking for me. It’s been about self exploration and letting other people in on that has allowed further growth. For me, it was a step of vulnerability, to put myself out there so honestly after a bad personal year in which a lot of my trust was destroyed. This, for me, has been huge, to say the least.

    Maybe most of all, it’s a way for me to still make media when I’m not writing and to share ideas about making our world a better place. The vlogosphere seems pretty liberal in general, but I nevertheless think discussions about our future are important, even among the like-minded.

    So, starting this summer and through the fall when I should be wrapping up, I’m doing my master’s thesis on female video bloggers, bringing together women’s issues and the idea of video Internet communication to discover what that means for the next generation of female/feminist media makers. To me, this is something revolutionary that, while perhaps hard to define, ought to be kept somewhat sacred, for lack of a better word. I’ve stumbled upon commercials that were just that, and I was unbelieveably angry that they’d invaded what I consider to be an important space for sharing, maybe in some ways comparable to the feminist consciousness raising groups of the 1970s. However, the commercialization of the medium was inevitable, no? So while defining it might be difficult and in a post-modern society, that’s nearly impossible, I think a basic theoretical structure would help us all make better decisions about what we’re doing and why. I hope that doesn’t sound pretentious, but that’s very much how I view this entire process. And if that isn’t an important part of this for you, I don’t know why you’d be arguing about it, so I’m guessing we’re all concerned about it on some level (unless some people, unlike me, like to argue just for the sake of arguing).

    I’ve referenced the Vlog Anarchy piece for a while when I feel that my own vlog is nonsensical, one minute a cat video, the next discussing ex-gay Christian conferences. But I think there’s something to the discussion of what defines what we’re doing. Ultimately, we define it, and doing a better job of that is a noble task to take on, if seemingly impossible.

  21. verdi
    don’t quit your day job…oh wait.

    what i really want to contribute to this conversation is
    that because lauren is so cute, i just went out and bought a pair of nikes.
    that’s what you wanted me to do right?

  22. Just an observation about my own personal reaction…

    Clip B worked such a strong (negative) effect on me because it was a surprise.

    I was already feeling emotions about what I was seeing, developing in my mind what the sociologists call a “definition of the situation.” Then the Nike logo shattered that definition.

    I think this is because of mixing the personal with the impresonal, and Kent’s point about transparency.

    For 9 seconds I felt/believed something. It went something like this: “Cute girl is running, her dad is encouraging her, they’re spending time together, this speaks to commitment, of love, of something joyful, dang she is a good runner, if she didn’t slow down at the end she could improve, there is hope for her….”

    Then in the last second the definition of the situation completely changed to:

    “Conflate your good feelings with our product. Buy something.”

    The negative reaction I had was the negative reaction I often have about much of advertising: I’ve just been lied to.

    Still working out what this means, but I think this issue of transparency and trust is important to my understanding of this important topic. Thanks for getting this discussion rolling, Michael.

  23. Ok, watched again, and I think I have the solution to this whole issue.

    The answer to:
    How do you go about labeling videos as either vlog or non-vlog?

    Is obviously:
    Watch them all, decide if their intention is good-willed or bad, then label it with a seal of approval or disdain.

    I’ll start making graphics for the official seals.

    “Approved! This vlog was made with respectable intentions. Watch at your pleasure, with no fear of being corrupted by EVIL.”

    Hmm, but that may be too simplistic, and if so, then that would imply that there are gray areas around the issue.

    Sarcasm aside, I always find it difficult to watch/listen to people proclaim what is or isn’t a video blog.

    It’s just a delivery mechanism for video. Why do you need caveats?

    If you really feel the need to label, maybe you need to devote a new word to your style of video blog. The “personal” video blog.

    Arrr (pirate noise).

  24. Something that Quirk & Dave H said made me think of this:

    Being transparent about your intentions and any conflicts of interest builds trust over time, and this is a lot easier to do with text blogs than video blogs.

    Jeff Jarvis has a list of disclosures that lay out all of his various business ties, financial interests, political leanings, etc. He treds a very fine line between being an influential media critic and a media consultant, and any time there is a potential conflict of interest, then he discloses them and links to his Disclosure Policy.

    This is easy to do with text, but it is a lot more difficult to include all of your disclosures within a video.

    It seems like the “About” page is the best place to let viewers know where you’re coming from, and to make them aware of any conflicting interests or financial ties.

  25. ok, but if i recall, you have waffled on this topic.
    anyway, a videoblog still should be ANYTHING, not anything YOU or anyone deems worthy.
    You know why? What if I create a vlog that mixes personal style content with more commercial style content, every week depending on the day? You will have trouble telling me whether or not i vlog and have a vlog, wont you?

    not only this, but you have a book being published, right? people need to buy that book… but you could have made a free e-book. you will be profitting from videoblogging and that is fine and dandy. i also think having publsihed books are great and support you to write more. but dont you think the two are contradictive?
    unless, you are not against money as long as the content fits into your template?

    well anyway, i always refer to a video daniel of pouring down productions made….

    theory-practice

    that sums it up for me.

  26. their is a reason why ‘subscriptions’ are built-in to this stuff.
    you can subscribe to vlogs you like.
    doesnt mean you should not consider the ones you dont like as not being vlogs.

    c’mon now!

    bzzz bzz bzzz.

  27. “doesnt mean you should not consider the ones you dont like as not being vlogs.”

    that is quite possibly the worst sentence i have typed in a while :)

  28. I just spend $30 on a DVD of Ryanne buying shoes and Weagel puking. WTF?

    What a great conversation spurred by your video. Your intentions are pure and I love you. However, defining videoblogs as noncommercial is obviously hugely problematic. Like Quirk says — videoblogs are simply a content-agnostic delivery mechanism. You’re trying to claim videoblogging for non-commercial personal media. Why not just claim non-commercial personal media?

    The best point I’ve seen here is that dischord we feel between a large evil corporation and an intimate, personal moment. That’s incredibly valuable, and obviously the extreme example. I think we’re living in the Age of Authenticity. We no longer trust PR from politicians and corporations. Maybe we’re living in a “trust economy.” When we make stuff, for the purpose of making stuff rather than the purpose of making money, we’re (hopefully) being authentic – and that’s HUGELY influential. The big guys realize this and are trying to capitalize on it before it’s even off the ground.

    That’s why I say this: If you’re videoblogging, do it out of love. Love what you’re doing. If you start a vlog to make money, especially if you’re not transparent about it, that’s not authentic and probably doomed to failure. But if you’re doing it for love, it will show. And you’ll build an audience. MAYBE you’ll have the opportunity to translate that value (be it emotional or informational) into financial value. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

    Artists deserve to make money from their art. Talented people should be able to sustain their talent.

    If you’re in a band, you probably don’t have ads. That’s not the model. You play some gigs, you sell some CDs. At a certain point you might have the opportunity to cash in with a commercial. Do you cease being a band at that moment? Is your music no longer music? Of course not. But – it’s a fine line between maintaining your authenticity and becoming a corporate shill.

    You’ve chosen one end of the spectrum – complete artistic integrity and authenticty, with no commercialism (besides your personal brand.) A notable exception: You and Ryanne had a videoblog for your book publisher at MacWorld.

    “Who better to help us shoot, edit and post our very first video blog than co-authors Michael Verdi and Ryanne Hodson?” says Peachpit’s Publisher Nancy Aldrich-Ruenzel. “They are helping us understand compression, how to get the right lighting and sound and how to work with RSS feeds—all the things we know our readers need to know too. We can’t wait to turn our readers on to their talent and know-how!”

    Yee-ha! So here you are in a commercial context. I know you and Ryanne, and I trust your perspectives. When Ryanne is vlogging in front of a giant Peachpit logo I understand that she’s essentially translating some of her “value” as an expert and personal vlogger into a commercial book and vlog – and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Of course it’s a videoblog. I believe she really does like those Peachpit books. I don’t feel as much dischord between Nike and your daughter, because this is something closer to “authentic commercialism.”

    But I do feel a *little* dischord, more like a little giggle, because your Peachpit vlog came out in the middle of your whole feud with Rocketboom. It shows a significant crack in your “100% artistic integrity – nothing else will do!” approach to vlogs.

    Nevertheless, I applaud your intentions with this video. People (myself included) need to stop and think: What is the impact of slapping an ad on my videoblog?

  29. Oy Vey!

    I’ve been sitting here catching up on all the VBWEEK06 videos since I’ve been stuck at work for three nights and then I hit THIS one and get all wrapped up in the insightful, passionate and wise comments!

    Yes, there’s a difference between clip A and clip B. They’ve been defined very well in the zillion comments before mine. No advertisement would prompt this discussion. A videoblog would. Too simple? Maybe.

  30. Something is up with trackbacks so if you’re still listening, I’ve done another experiment.

    Also a few words to address some of these comments: This is not about me saying this one is “worthy” and this one is not. It’s about reclaiming a word that feels to me like it’s being stolen – not necessarliy on purpose but more likely as a result of people being locked into the dominant paridigm (TV).

  31. Strange point. There is a difference between the two clips but clip 2 is definitely not a TV show.

    The dominant television “paradigm” is 30 or 60 minute shows designed to reach a mass number of viewers with the express purpose of selling advertising (although not always).

    Because an ad exists in a piece of video content on the internet doesn’t make it == television.

    Ok.. Also, people need a reference point, television is by far the most dominant reference point for video on the internet. Reminding people that video on the internet doesn’t have to == television is a good thing.

    Equating advertising in video on the internet with television doesn’t make sense.

    I know that you are trying to define videoblogging as primarily a non-commercial activity; which is a fine stance but the equations need a bit of work.

    Last, I would be careful about that stance. Advertising is by far the dominant vehicle for people wanting or needing to make money with their creative endeavors.

    Creative people have always been on both sides of this issue and many will be angry if you tell them they aren’t doing it right or they shouldn’t call it “videoblogging”.

    What are your thoughts about donations?

  32. I’m glad you had a giggle at my expense Chuck. Let me clear some things up – I’m thinking out loud here because nobody else seems to want to take this on. I’m an adult and I’ve learned that best way to figure out what you think about something is to try to discuss it with people. That’s why I called this an “experiment.” You should look at #2 and also have a look at Richard BF’s response – I really like where he’s going with it. I’ve never said artists don’t deserve to make money from their art. That would be stupid of me since I’ve been doing it for about 17 years now.

    As to “why not just claim non-commerical personal media?” Well I thought about that a lot before making this video. To me it seems like the whole idea of creating a videoblog to generate an income came later and so maybe that’s the thing that needs a new name.

    ————-

    I don’t know – many of of you who have responded really don’t like this idea and you guys act like I’m the supreme court and just handed down this ruling. I’m just a guy trying to figure shit out. I’m as fucked up as all of you (that’s right – you’ve all got problems, inconsistencies, conflicts of interest, times when you speak to quickly and moments of clarity – just like me).

    ————-

    Earlier, Anne summed up where I’m at in my desire to make this post:

    I don’t despise commerce or online shows at all. It does, however, make me sigh a little sigh when I see how quickly the tide turns from personal journaling to “user content” Current TV commercials and YouTube as the new “trailer” park.

  33. Brother Verdi, I appreciate your experiments. I want you to push and wield your influence to affect positive change. Definitions aside, I resonate with your message, “Advertising interferes with personal communication.”

    Context is hugely important (props to Richad BF). I was trying to make that point with the various levels of “dischord” we feel; and in my video “Shame on CNN”.

    I’m struggling with how to go about video ads on Minnesota Stories. Which is a videoblog no matter what you say. :-) I sure don’t want a political protest video or touching documentary clip followed by some jerk screaming in a used car lot. I’d much rather have a video ad from the Minnesota Historical Society.

    This debate has echos of a similar debate about documentary film. Some claimed Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11 was not actually a documentary because it has such a biased point of view. Of course the earliest days of documentary (Nanook of the North) were contrived/constructed truths with a biased point of view.

    Likewise, some videoblogs have had eyes on TV and revenue potential from the very beginning. For proof, read through Jeff Jarvis’ vlog archives from 2002.

    What I said about documentary, I’ll say about vlogs: It’s a willow tree. All kinds of people are pulling it and bending it in different directions, but it can withstand the weight.

  34. There is no difference between the two clips. There is no grey area.

    One is helping to sell the brand of Nike and the other is helping to sell the brand of Verdi. A strong Verdi brand could lead to all sorts of opportuntities…aren’t you writing a book? If you get paid for that book then you are still selling out your daughter for your personal monetary gain.

    I say that to make a point, I have no issue with people trying to make money off vlogging.

  35. verdi said:
    “I’m thinking out loud here because nobody else seems to want to take this on”

    c’mon. thats not true. you are in that vlog theory group and you know well that myself and others have tackled this topic… and it has also been repeatedly brought up on the VBYG to the point where even I started to gag at the topic. So, don’t try to make it appear you are breaking through anything. This topic is old and tired…. but it still interests me.

    Why must it be so hard to simply say that the vlogs I appreciate the most and respect the most consist primarily or entirely of non-commercial personal media… because that is much more representative of what you actually do prefer than simply ‘vlog’.

    let it go. even Ryanne would disagree here… right Ryanne? ;)

  36. I’m calling bullshit Sull. The day I see you make a video about what you think a videoblog is (or any video) – is the day I’ll let that comment fly. Plus, like you said – eveyone thinks this topic is old and tired. If I brought it up on any of those lists I’d shouted down pretty quick with “oh not that conversation again.”

  37. “I’m calling bullshit Sull”
    say hi to bullshit for me. we dont talk much ;)

    so suddenly comments by people who arent as active video makers are not good enuf for you either? damn, tough to meet your standards, michael.

  38. I think the reason the comments seem negative is that you are excluding a large group from the conversation. Not everyone follows your style, but as you come from a position of relative authority within a growing community (a position based primarily on a declaration that vlogs should not be categegorized), your opinions hold some weight. And your post didn’t sound like opinion, it sounded more like proclamation. Add to that the fact that you now have good production values and are a practicing filmmaker, I could see some budding videoblogger that wanted to make a travel show or something being completely turned off and bummed out. I find the whole conversation to be a drag, to tell you the truth, and it makes me want to go out and break something, viz, capitalism.

  39. I only skimmed the first few posts. I’m not much for reading through a thread.

    I see a videoblog, besides it’s technology, as honest. It is not contrived for achieving a result in it’s audience, but to express something real for the person making it.

  40. Bravo, Michael!! I know I’m slow, but I love this clip, you’ve inspired me so much, I want to do videos this good, and leave the commercials in the dust.

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