Video Blogging: New Wave of Internet Expression

Julia Benhen '12
Guest Writer

I started vlogging for several reasons – some of which I’m not going to disclose because they’re a little embarrassing.  But the basic story is that back around last April, I ran across two independent things that inspired me to make internet content.  The first was the blog “Hyperbole and a Half” by Allie Brosh, which is the most consistently hilarious thing on the internet.  That blog popularized the illustrated blog format, and often deals with stories from Allie’s colorful ADHD-spiced childhood.  The second was Charlie McDonnell’s channel on YouTube, www.youtube.com/charlie.  Charlie was the first respectable vlogger I ever really noticed and is still my favorite.  Before I saw his channel, I thought all vloggers were just whiny teenagers who wanted attention.  Now I know better.

Between those two influences, I decided to try my hand at creating internet content.  First, I blogged.  I blogged every single day for over two months straight.  My specialty was like Allie’s – I told childhood stories through illustrations.  I loved it, and frankly, I’m better at writing than video making, but the one-a-day schedule and lack of strong internet community ran me down.  However, during the course of making the blog, I started making videos.  Really, that was always the end goal, no matter how the blog turned out.  The first few did not have a lot of time put into them, and it showed.  But they removed the fear of posting on YouTube and made me feel more confident.  I slowly learned how to use my editing software.

Then I went to VidCon, the first ever large-scale YouTube conference.  1200-1500 people showed up – few enough that I got to talk to all the big name YouTubers I looked up to.  I also met less well-known people, like Rootberry, a two-man juggling team, who I talked to for quite a while.  Right afterward, armed with a new camera and a new enthusiasm, I started filming more seriously.  I made a friend almost immediately on YouTube.  After a few months of work, I had 16 subscribers.

Just about a week ago, Root of Rootberry noticed my channel and subscribed to it.  A few days later, he made a video partially devoted to plugging my channel.  It was great.  Now, mostly due to his influence, I have just over 100 subscribers.  It’s not impressive to most people, but it’s something to me.  It’s great to know that people outside of my friend group think my videos and I are worth paying attention to (particularly since in my childhood I was one of those kids – the ones who get shunned by classmates for being shy and weird.  I feel like I’ve avenged my elementary-school self).  But I’d keep doing it anyway even if that hadn’t happened.  I have a lot of fun vlogging.  Even if I’m not as natural at video as I am at writing, it’s really rewarding to see myself get distinctly better with each video.  I fail at acting and painting and most other forms of expression (no matter how much I’d love to be a great actor), but with vlogging, I feel like I’ve found something I’m supposed to be doing.  I love it.