vlogging – Writer Catnip or Future Hairball?

view of a man filming himself posing with a video camera

So I said I would never join FaceBook. I didn’t see the point of it, thought it made a big time suck when I should be doing other things…yadda yadda. I only gave in, because without it, I’d have lost the Cherry Tarts and their friendship.

How about blogging? While I could see why people did it, and believed some carried it off very well, I saw no point to joining the blogosphere until I had a shop-worthy manuscript. Trouble was, I lived in a feedback-vacuum at the time. Then I stumbled across a group of writers who posted snippets of their WIP on-line and had formed a casual critique group for one another. *snort* I won’t belabor the details of my obvious conversion.

Twitter? That hold-out lasted…oh, four months. I’m slow, but even I could spot a trend of early skepticism becoming enthusiastic adoption.

But this newest means of authors reaching their audience has me quaking in my boots:

vLogging. Have you heard of it? The lovely Gretchen McNeil — opera singer, writer, founder of the YA Rebels and mash-up queen — introduced me to it in a big way. Here’s one of the YA Rebel’s top productions, courtesy of Leah Clifford:

Wasn’t that awesome??? Fantastic? Isn’t it cool that this group puts out a new, funny, writing-related film clip almost every day?

Didn’t they just raise the bar for those of us who are less photogenic, more comfortable with our wallflower status and…older? Smilie by GreenSmilies.com

So how do you feel about vLogging? Do you think it will become a cutting edge means to market oneself as a writer? If so, do you plan to join it? Most important of all, would you have used M&M’s in that video, or Smarties?

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26 thoughts on “vlogging – Writer Catnip or Future Hairball?

  1. While I applaud Gretchen’s ingenuity, I’m fairly certain that nothing short of a death threat would encourage me to put myself “out there” like this. I freak if my stepdaughter posts unapproved pictures of me on Facebook! There is a reason I always stuck to print journalism – even when I was younger.

    You, however, could totally pull this off. With your infectious smile, fiery hair and natural charm, I’d watch your vlog any day 🙂

    Oh – and I definitely would have used Smarties, the Canadian ones, of course. To be different, I eat the blue ones last.

  2. Fun video! I don’t think I could ever do v-logging though. Heck, I don’t even post pictures of myself on my regular blog!!

    Though, mebbe I’d better get over that bit of shyness sooner rather than later. 😛

    Oh yes, and I’d only have used Smarties if they’ve come along and invented peanut, peanut butter, mint, raspberry, or dark chocolate flavored ones while I wasn’t looking. Though I do love he orange ones!

  3. I’m not a fan of vlogging.

    It takes a lot more time to make a good vlog than to blog, tweet, and post on facebook combined, and frankly, most writers won’t be any good at it. We aren’t extroverts, vlogging is for extroverts.

    Second, I don’t want to watch you mumble through something. I could read the text in half the time it takes to watch a vlog.

    Third, what content is worth a vlog? What needs to be shown that can’t be written up with photos? I don’t have an answer for what makes a good vlog, and that to me is another con. Why go to the effort? If there is something worth showing, or say, if you want to do an excerpt of your work, fine.

    I’m not saying there isn’t a place for vlogging, I don’t think it needs to be a new trend or must-do. Not in the slightest.

  4. Hi! Thanks for posting my vlog! I agree with the comments on here…if you can’t find the purpose and fun behind doing something “networky” then there’s no point. This is why I vlog instead of blogging. I did think heavily before I started, because I wanted to put myself out there completely. I wanted to be an open book. It’s not always comfortable, but it pushes me to think and gives me the opportunity to hear others opinions and get into discussions. Others may use their blog for the same purpose. And then there are writers who make the choice to remain private. The beauty is, you can do anything or nothing! You just have to find what works for you!

    Jess, for your point… “Third, what content is worth a vlog? What needs to be shown that can’t be written up with photos?” Queen parodies 😉

  5. Dawn, doh! I didn’t even know there is a difference between Canadian and American Smarties. Thank you for the kind words, but while I have done television interviews before, I am excruciatingly self-conscious before a camera. In turn, that makes it painful to watch.

    Bookewyrme, ooh, those Smarties sound like the kind I’d go for. Yum!

    Jess, IMO, if social networking is done well, it’s something both parties enjoy; a genuine offering of the heart. It’s pretty clear to me from that vlog that Leah got a creative buzz from doing that submission. I, in turn, got a kick out of watching her take the risk.Yeah, it’s different from the media I’m comfortable with, but I do applaud the effort. As long as I’m not required to follow in her shoes. 😯

    Leah, lol, glad you came. I have to tell you one of the things I most loved about your vlog was the Queen lyrics. You rock! Just don’t expect me to pass you a crampon. 😉 Happily, I know the rest of your team is there with the mountaineering equipment. .

  6. Good topic! I’m not a fan of vlogging. Some people (like the YARebels) are very good at it, but most vlogs I’ve watched have made me wish the vlogger stuck to writing. In general, the video quality is poor, the vlogger is not a good speaker or actor, and the time it takes to watch a vlog is much longer than it would have taken me to read a blog post (time = precious since I have a hard time keeping up with blogs as is). So yeah, and that doesn’t touch on the personal reasons why I would never do one. 😉 As a total camera-phobe, it’s not an option for me. I had a hard enough time finding a pic to put on my blog!

  7. In general, I am with Jess and Tracey on this one. They take up way too much time.

    I do, however, think that there is some content worthy of vlogs – mostly entertainment, music and artistic content.

    Part of what I do in my day job deals with copyright infringement and I just cringe at the illegal use of music and images on most blogs, video blogs included.

    I had to look up pictures of Canadian Smarties vs US ones, but could not figure out from the pix what the Canadian ones have inside. Please let me know. The US ones are basically sicky-sweet, fruit flavored sugar.

  8. Tracey, I’ve seen a few vlogs that were cringeworthy too. I do agree with everybody’s point about the time it takes to read a vlog compared to a blog.

    Glinda, Canadian Smarties sound the same as yours. They have one flavor of sweet filling I don’t find to be particularly reminiscent of chocolate, either.

    You raise a very good point about copyright — one I hadn’t even thought about as it pertains to vlogs. While we’re on the topic, can I pick your professional brain? (And if you don’t feel like answering, please feel under no obligation.) Wrt Tartitude, all the artwork you see before you at the moment has been found in the public domain or, as in the case of this blog post, offered through PicApp, with which WordPress has partnered. (Thank you WP for allowing my conscience to rest easy.) The exception would be pictures I take myself OR celebrity photos. It’s the latter I’m wondering about. Although they are not specifically offered with url’s for embedding, I’m assuming that, say, a photo of Daniel Craig which would be found on his website, iMDB, tons of other Hollywood-related sites are intended as publicity photos; and their originator wants them spread as widely as possible. Am I wrong about that?

    If you’d prefer to answer off the record, please e-mail me. If you’d prefer not to answer at all, I understand.

  9. Disclaimer: I am not an attorney and my opinion does not constitue legal advice.

    I work mostly with music copyrights, but have had to deal with people infringing pictures off my husband’s websites.

    Short answer: No, their originator does not necessarily want them spread. They are still under copyright and you probably don’t have the right to use them unless the owner expressly gives permission.

    Long answer: A photographer owns all the rights to their photos and legally, they are not supposed to be used without express permission and/or compensation. Even publicity photos. Celebrities also have publicity rights regarding the use of their image as well.

    Some photographers license their works under a creative commons license so that it can be shared. Unless specified otherwise, it is to be assumed that all the photographer’s rights are reserved and the photos cannot be used without permission.

    Now, that being said, people use these photos all the time. (Which is not a legal excuse, BTW). If you are not using them commercially, the RCMP are probably not going to show up at your door. But it is technically illegal. 🙂

    The PicApp plug-in looks interesting. I have been considering using that one myself. Don’t they have celebrity pictures as well as art of their program?

  10. Thanks for the info, Glinda. Yeah, it’s not about the likelihood of prosecution, but about my conscience. Looks like I have some soul-searching to do.

    Yes, PicApp does have some celebrity pictures, but the variety is extremely limited. Perform a search on Daniel Craig, for instance, and you’ll see the problem.

    Actually, they have a fair number of photos of attractive, scantily-clad women, but their selection on the male side is rather sad. Since most of my readership is female… Sigh.

    Thanks again for the reply!

  11. You are welcome. I may have to write a blog entry on this. I did a quick search on the subject and there are many articles out there containing erroneous information. An opportunity for a teachable moment! 🙂

  12. I can see myself doing one; I have that “Let’s hang curtains in the barn and put on a SHOW” tendency. But I’d need a good excuse, like promoting a book, to put in the time it would require. Remember, it took me two years to complete the 15-minute documentary on my extended family’s vacation.

    And just when I was about to say, “I almost never watch videos,” along comes one of my favorite bloggers, Quinn Cummings (yes, THAT Quinn), going vlog:


  13. Glinda, when you get that blog post up, let me know. I’d like to have a look. Great idea, btw.

    MJ, you do have that slightly mad-cap quality all good vloggers should possess. As for vlogging becoming the new authorial black, all I can say is, “Nooooooo….!”

  14. Absolutely nothing to do with vlogging, but I was wondering about your avatar the other day. The person with the orange slices over her eyes? Yeah, that image is being sold as a print on Etsy, and even made the front page awhile back. I wouldn’t have noticed except for you!

    So, I’m guessing someone is selling prints of public-domain artwork? Classy.

    1. Uh-oh. Now I have a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. 🙁 When I found Orange Goggle Girl, I had searched the images in the Creative Commons in Flickr. Perhaps I misunderstood something… Do you have a link, Clovia?

  15. I’ve been looking through the listings on etsy, but I havne’t found it yet. To clarify, I don’t think *you’re* the one who’s being un-classy. I think someone else is selling free images on Etsy, which is stupid for a lot of reasons, but dishonest because Etsy is supposed to be for artists, and they’re passing the work off as theirs. When it’s free.

    I’ll keep looking, but the keyword “orange” brings up about 6,000 artist prints 🙁 I just remembered seeing it in the showcase, and thinking “huh.”

    1. Well what I’m wondering is if I’d misunderstood the conditions about Goggle Girl, and she did exclusively belong to someone who’s actively marketing her. I know I tried my best at the time, but as you know, my reading comprehension isn’t always the best. I’d be very sad to lose her…

  16. I’m still looking, but my bet is on someone thinking “oh, free artwork, I can try to sell it, and no one can say anything, because it’s free.”

    Don’t worry about it. You know, for the longest time, I thought that was a little boy, until I finally noticed the lipstick.

      1. Huh. That’s the photo alright, although I know how I searched for it when I set up this blog. (Long story short, it was a post from an editor about how to find photos that sent me to the Flickr Creative Commons.) It also didn’t have those crossbar thingies on it when I originally copied it.

        Ok. Thanks for the info, Clovia.

        1. Have sent an e-mail off to my avatar’s creator. Will see what she says about my mistake and abide by her wishes. I cannot very well ask others to respect my work if I don’t respect theirs.

          ETA: permission granted by the gracious JenniPenni, who is now appropriately credited on my homepage. Sheesh. Wish all ethical dilemmas could be solved so easily!

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