Digital Citizen

Posted by Hullabaloo

It seems to have become something of a bad habit of mine, that when the new ‘it’ thing that the masses are flocking to emerges; I reject it. I’ll be so impassioned about all of the things that make it stupid and pointless that I’ll argue it down until I’m blue in the face… Then I’ll actually use it one time out of vague curiosity and need for factual ammunition in my ongoing argument against the very things existence – And then I’ll be addicted.

It happened with Facebook, it happened with Twitter and then it happened with Youtube.

Vlogging was one of the most pointless and irritating exercises in self promotion I had ever heard of. Just another platform for irritating and slightly nerdy wollies with annoying faces to talk about the mundane like they had the most ridiculous and entertaining lives in the world…

I am now, that wolly.
The turn around began with the spontaneous booking of a post university tour of America of all things. Looking through the day by day activities list, I discovered that hiking up to Angels Landing; a pretty serious looking mountain/cliff (people die climbing this thing) came up quite early on. A couple of days later, a quick stroll down the Grand Canyon… I turned to Youtube looking for video logs of people walking these routes to try and get a gauge of how much of a task it was really going to be…

I quickly decided that I needed to prepare.
This prep somehow became scaling Mnt Snowdon, and I decided that I would  document my journey using a standard digital camera on movie mode… I’d even started drawing up ideas on how exactly I would edit it, things like the varying emotional stages of mountain hiking (it’s an emotional process) amongst other wonderful things. I could imagine my first vlog clearer in my mind every time I thought about it. It was going to feel purposeful, it was going to be great – definitely rebelling against the poor trend in vlogging that I had witnessed heard about.

Needless to say, while hiking up a rainy mountain in Wales, (when you’re just  discovering; that ‘waterproof’ doesn’t really mean waterproof, and the true meaning of the phrase ‘blowing a gale’ whilst making excuses to stop for a rest at any and every given moment, much to the annoyance of the fitter members of the group) creating your first movie masterpiece isn’t really the first thing on your mind.

In the end I’d managed to record approximately half an hour of film. And nearly all of it was during rest breaks half way up. The remainder was made up of shaky camera work documenting the walk up from the car park to the beginning of the trail and then the same portion of road upon our return. There was approximately 9 seconds of the summit captured, and it was almost entirely a white mist accompanied by the sound of the wind (something akin to a hurricane) – which was a pretty accurate depiction of my general experience of the summit actually. All in all, it was an unfortunate anticlimax to my debut as a vlogger.

However, the vlogging seed as it were had been planted, and suddenly  the idiosyncrasies of my life began to morph into the basic frameworks of vlog topics in my mind.

It wasn’t until I returned from America that I actually made any kind of effort to try again at the whole ‘vlogging thing’. The first effort was quite honestly – appalling. It became clear to me that talking to an inanimate object as if it cared in the slightest about what I was saying, wasn’t actually as easy to pull off convincingly as I’d first imagined.

I stuck with it though, determined to at least record the ideas that I had down in the moment and to see the real response I would get from the millions of Youtubers world wide who might accidentally stumble across my channel.

And now I can pretty much say that I am a Vlogger/Youtuber. Yep. I’m one of those. I have over 100 combined ‘subs’ and ‘friends’, which in the grand scheme of things, isn’t all that many, though there is a steady interest in my videos and the numbers are continually growing… And actually I think I’ve gotten a lot more out of it than perhaps I’d even considered back when I’d shunned it so fervently.

I actually view it as something of a creative process. And while you might scoff at such a claim (I did) it isn’t until you actually try to replicate it yourself, that you realise what is needed from you as a presenter and an editor. I have to come up with ‘design concepts‘ and judge what I think my audience will enjoy watching the most. What’s going to grab and hold their attention and entertain them. Sometimes I will make a plan of what I’m going to talk about, or make notes on things I need to mention. Then I have to produce the content, being mindful of colouring, light and background. Then editing. Cutting out anything that might be detrimental to the video’s objectives; to entertain and hold attention (even if that means cutting out my favourite moments in the footage). Getting timings right and creating the right kind of feel to the video is critical. In my last post I talked about the relevence ofpsychology in what we do, and I think it also applies here.

And never did I ever imagine that making vlogs could lead to me being asked my opinion on certain projects here at Hullabaloo – let alone be given the opportunity to come up with concept ideas…

So I guess I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing, evolving my brand with each video and see where it takes me!

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