The democratisation of storytelling and the rise of the vlog

If there is one internet trend that has taken the digital world by storm in the last few years it has to be vlogging. One step further than blogging, vlogging – or video blogging – gives that extra insight into the creator’s life, giving us, as viewers, the opportunity to form real bonds and loyalties.

Vlogging is to blogging what film is to books; it is accessible, brighter and more easily shared. A key characteristic of much of the genre is that it is unfiltered; vloggers are spared the influence and input of a writers room or studio notes and instead are free to express their own thoughts and ideas untouched. With the help of the right set-up and  equipment, it is easy to forget you are likely watching someone speak from the comfort of their own home.

There is a perception in the media that vloggers are self-centred narcissists, blithely documenting the inane and the banal all the while earning millions in advertising revenue. But this is a gross, reductive generalisation that fails to capture the power and impact Youtubers can have on their audiences.

Many vloggers use their platforms to discuss their personal struggles. Prominent YouTubers Zoella and Thomas ‘Tomska’ Ridgewell speak about their struggles with mental health; Meghan Tonjes and Louise Pentland regularly discuss body positivity; Tyler Oakley and Melanie Murphy talk about accepting themselves and their experiences as part of the LGBT+ community; the list goes on. The millions of (often young) people that watch this content relate to and learn from these experiences; an idea that may seem foreign to older generations but is a defining characteristic of the genre.

Being a successful vlogger requires hard word and devotion. The process of coming up with fresh ideas, filming, editing and promoting content is far from ‘just a hobby’ and it is astonishing that an industry that barely existed ten years ago has become so huge that there are now international conventions dedicated to it and more than a few millionaires.

But vlogging is about more than the money. One of the most humbling aspects of Youtube stardom is that few people start out without the intention of becoming reputable – take Lucy Moon for example.

Lucy Moon is a 22 year old YouTuber and blogger with almost 225,000 subscribers on her channel meowitslucy.She started making videos in 2010 and creates content on self-love, fashion, feminism, and music. In her most evocative and captivating vlogs she discusses her experiences with eating disorders and body image, and struggles with mental health and alcohol.

Watching Lucy is like meeting up with a friend for coffee. Her typical set-up is to be sat with a hot drink, in front of a very aesthetically pleasing background and directly facing the camera. Even the first time you watch her videos, you will feel like you’ve known her for years, and what is more, you’ll feel like she’s speaking to you personally.

When all it takes is a video camera and an idea, there is no denying that vlogging is easily accessible. It’s a platform unlike any other, where almost any content is welcome and enjoyed, whether that be laid-back make up tutorials or hard hitting discussions of contemporary issues.

Of course, with the pace of the online community, who knows how long vlogging will stay on trend. But for now, we’re certain it’s one to watch. Literally.

We were fortunate enough to speak to Lucy and asked her a few questions about her life online.

What sparked your interest in vlogging?

When I was thirteen my friend showed me one of Mitchell Davis’s videos and from there I was hooked.

How much do your vlogs influence your life?

I think it works in tandem with your life in a similar way to most creative passions – as a musician, a writer or a director you have a low level awareness of things that could inspire a good lyric/line/angle in your next project. Making videos is a similar process for me, and I find inspiration in a lot of areas of my life.

Do you feel your style has changed?

Yeah for sure, as I’ve grown my style has matured and I want to talk about different topics than I did four years ago. Right now I’m really enjoying adding handwritten illustrations to my videos and playing with graphics and fonts, something I didn’t know how to do until recently.

How much time do you spend on each video?

It depends on the style of video; a vlog can be filmed, edited and exported in a number of hours however I’ve currently got an 168 Hours episode [a video series that documents a week in Lucy’s life] I’ve been working on for over a month!

Will you still be creating videos in five years time?

I really don’t know, so much can change online and the space we occupy is evolving rapidly. I try to be as flexible as possible and work on the assumption that my platform is temporary.

What do you think is the most important video you’ve made?

Probably the video I made about alcohol. I still receive messages from people who were affected by the video nearly every day.

[Image: Lucy Moon]

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