VLOGGING: THE NEXT DIGITAL GENRE (A Genre Analysis of The Vlog as an Offspring to the Diary)
I want you to think about the content that you consume on a daily basis. Are your feeds and algorithms filled with educational content? Entertaining cat videos? Theories on space? If the internet is to be believed, then I would probably place you in the category of the 44% who watch vlogs every month. With thousands of videos added daily and billions of those videos being watched, it’s no wonder that the content style referred to as vlogging took off. But, have you ever wondered why that is?
Let’s take a look.
WHAT IS A VLOG?
If you look for a definition about what is a vlog, you would probably get something like this: “a blog that contains video material” (Merriam-Webster). Compare that answer to someone who gave you a verbal response, they would probably say something like “it’s a personal way of showing day-to-day things in an entertaining way. Like a public diary.” So, if vlogging is like a “public diary” and we as a society have been told not to read other’s diaries, why is it that vlogs and vlogging is so popular and even profitable?
To answer that we are going to have to take a look at history.
HISTORY- DIARY AND LOG
Vlogs, when taken apart by their functions as a genre, can be derived as the offspring of two ancestral genres: the diary and the log.
The diary, a genre whose function was to “record events, experiences, and other personal things that interest you” (Penzu) has historically been a privatized and solo activity. Primarily used a therapeutic means of conversation when other’s either were not around or could not understand, the diary is a familiar and popularized genre. “You can write about whatever you like, free of outside judgment or criticism. It should be an extension of your mind: safe and free. A diary can be whatever you decide and should be a place where you can be honest” (Penzu).
The log, in comparison, is more so about the documentation of the progress one has made. It is special in that they are used as a “self-assessment tool” and are characterized by their use of collecting data and report a process of the completion of a project by entry (Logs).
PRESENT- THE BLOG AND THE VLOG
Today, the blog and the vlog not only share letters but also characteristics and purpose. The blog is primarily seen as a website of articles or entries that detail a journey on partakes in, usually pertaining to a few themes in the author’s daily life. The vlog on the other hand is attached to the modern use of the site YouTube as a content source. It’s characteristics are stereotyped to the rhetoric carrying around a camera and filming their daily life while adding some commentary about it.
Both the vlog and the blog hold similar characteristics: reverse chronology, link sourcing, frequent updating, personal commentary, dates and time stamping, permalinks, and the author’s name shown. However, there are a few key differences that divide the visual genres.
The first is their stereotypes. When one here’s the word blog, the common stereotype is a mother at home writing articles on recipes and tips and tricks on parenthood. It is romanticized overall. Alternatively, when one here’s the term vlog, they associate it with the famed examples of David Dobrik and Emma Chamberlin who are seen as fame or “clout” chasers.
The second is their popularized use. While many blogs are large and profitable, the growing association with money and public use is attached to vlogs.
The third difference is their length and formating. Blogs still contain some semblance of a written format and grammar usage, whereas vlogs are primarily video and cause no need for a grammar or written word unless used to commentary, closed captioning, or video description, which all require minimal grammar and formality. Vlogging is also more at the moment or recaptive depending on the style.
Though there are plenty of differences, there are more similarities. Both vlogging and blogging are different sides of the same coin. Both genres utilize their individual formats of storytelling to describe detailed personal stories about the rhetor and their life. They are both extremely personalized genres that cannot be replicated easily. What also makes them notable genres that also link back to the ancestral genres of logs and diaries are their long-term collections of dated entries that can reflect upon at a much later date.
So then, why choose to vlog? The perks of vlogging in today’s society, in my opinion, outweigh any other genre as you can literally see your growth. When you vlog for months or even years on end, you can visually watch yourself age and listen to yourself grow with your mindset. It is the most visual and easy way to maintain a personal diary today as they “offer a unique first-hand perspective of significant moments in history in a way that official historical records rarely can” (Macmillan). It is a modern and relatively easy way to document a journey of self-discovery and growth in the present, as it happens.
“Logs and Diaries.” BetterEvaluation, 26 Aug. 2020, www.betterevaluation.org/en/evaluation-options/logsanddiaries.
Macmillan, Pan. “History’s Greatest Diaries.” Pan Macmillan, Pan Macmillan, www.panmacmillan.com/blogs/history/historical-diaries-war-history-journal#:~:text=Personal%20diaries%20offer%20a%20unique,official%20historical%20records%20rarely%20can.).
Miller, Carolyn R., and Dawn Shepherd. Blogging as Social Action: A Genre Analysis of the Weblog, University of Minnesota, 1 Jan. 1970, conservancy.umn.edu/handle/11299/172818.
“Vlogging Statistics [Updated 2020].” VloggingPro, 14 May 2020, vloggingpro.com/vlogging-statistics/#:~:text=Statistics%20show%20that%20over%2044,YouTube%20comes%20from%20YouTube%20creators.
“Vlog.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam- webster.com/dictionary/vlog. Accessed 11 Feb. 2021.
“What Is a Diary and Why Should I Keep One?” Penzu, penzu.com/what-is-a-diary.
Images by GettyImages.