I have been really disappointed lately with the state of videoblogging. Without delving into the details, I’ll try and just state the obvious. I don’t have all the answers, I just notice that something is starting to go wrong.
1. One thing that makes the business of videoblogging problematic is the contrasting paradigms of business at play. The notion of “blogging” suggests that the medium may be informed by blogging practices and yet the application of video opens up the medium to traditional TV and Film business methods.
I’m only putting forth a hypothesis here formed more from a birds eye view and a feeling, but it seems to me that most bloggers who are leaders in the blogging world would consider their weblogs to be loss leaders where the activity of blogging does not bring in enough revenue to sustain their site’s effort but does lead to other related activites that generate revenue. And where in many cases the activity is so close in nature to the weblog, and is so desirable by the blogger anyway, a beneficial and fulfilling lifestyle can be obtained.
On the other hand, there is the TV and Film industry which seems to be built on a completely different set of business practices, different motivations and morality and of course where the potential for fortune, power and fame attract the most intense types of personal human interests, leading to a completely different kind of culture with different principles and policies.
So what’s going wrong here is the collision of these two worlds. It happens in blogging, sure, but it’s common place right now in videoblogging and I believe this is ultimately where we will start to notice a separation between “videoblogging” and “tv”.
As of now, we have not seen the influx of major talent from the established media industry adopting the experiences, technologies or practices realised in videoblogging over the last couple of years. This is the area where we have recieved a lot of consulting interest lately. Our intent is to help bring these two worlds together, for as I say, it not really working out so well right now.
2. Journalism is at play as one faction in all media. Sometimes (video)blogging and journalism are closely tied, for the most part, consequently; It just so happens that there is a lot of unintentional cross over. The main glue that keeps the affinity between blogging and journalism, it seems, is a sense of integrity that can be felt and shared by both. There is a desire to find “the trurth” and to be objective while continuing to remind one another that objectivity is futile.
Many bloggers aspire to journalistic standards and yet they also feel comfortable with blogging standards and seem to have a good sense of how these two worlds look when put together. A lot of work has already been done in this area. Yet when bloggers say they are not subject to the rules of journalism, something I have said before, it doesn’t mean that we don’t continue to share many of the same qualities as journalists anyway, such as a sense of integrity and a willingness to value our work and our social contibutions higher than money, for instance. These are human qualities that influence our work. These are the types of qualities that I believe will illuminate a major fork in the road for what type of videoblogger one is, if they choose to identify with videoblogging, or what kind of person they are, regardless of what they call themselves.
Now we have major networks doing it, and I think they are doing it wrong, and actually causing a disservice to journalism and blogging in some cases. For instance, a network often has a news division and then has other programing that is non-news (like sitcoms, and other entertaiment content, family, etc). You can imagine that there are different styles, methods and reasons for a network to implement vidoebloggging and right now there seems to be some confusion about how to do that. It reminds me of one of my favorite albums by the Volent Femmes, The Blind Leading the Naked. “Anything goes blogging” is not the right kind of blogging style to suppliment for a trustworthy news division, but just might work for the family type of division within a network. Similarly, there are a lot of new lessons the established news industry and other family divisons can learn from videoblogging when the two work together to inform one another.