Defining Videoblogging

enric wrote this 6:15 am:

Interestingly the discussion on Amanda leaving Rocketboom has branched into a defining videoblogging. Now I see accurate models of entities as powerful and useful. For instance, Mathematical models of architecture allow the freedom to design new and revolutionary structures often in a few years. Prior to this in the Middle Ages, it took generations to build a cathedral. While the cathedrals are beautiful, there are few and large groups of people devoted their entire lives to constructing them.

However the danger in defining is dictating ones non-objective views and taste on an endeavor. This is what appears to be the purpose of some who'd like to narrow "videoblogging" to a style or method like "personal" videoblogs. This would be a hinderance to the growth and vibrancy of videoblogging for which a lack of stated definition is preferable. It is better to trust the wisdom of individuals acting in aggregate practicaly toward videoblogging than imposing a definition that excludes expressions.

However, I see that videoblogging has been around long enough with a large enough population for me to take a stab at a accurate definition. There are two aspects to videoblogging:

  • Technological architecture
  • Individual behavior

The physical architecture is the easy and apparent part of videoblogging. And it was defined early on. Currently wikipedia states:

A vlog is a video which uses a blog as its method of distribution. Regular entries are made and presented in reverse chronological order. A typical vlog entry combines an embedded video or video link with supporting text, images, and metadata.

Vlogs often take advantage of web syndication. Web syndication allows the distribution of video over the Internet using either the RSS or Atom syndication formats, for playback on mobile devices and personal computers.
So the physical aspects are:
  • Video in a blog format with entries in reverse chronological order
  • Which use syndication (like RSS or Atom) for distribution.
    Note: Syndication is not always considered a requirement

The human behavioral aspects I have observed is that people require personal control and distribution of videoblogging. From freevlog tutorials on how to shoot, edit, upload and present videoblogs on your own to numerous and continued questions on how to encode, techniques of shooting, hosting sites, etc. on the videoblogging yahoo group, the apparent feature of usage is personal control in creating media without requiring approval from a gatekeeper. For distribution, when a service like Veoh violates individual control of distribution -- contradicting the creative commons licenses of vlogs -- videobloggers will not stand for it. So the behavioral aspects of videoblogging are:

  • Personal capability and control of creating a videoblog entry
  • Personal control of distribution (syndication) of one's videoblog

Combining the technological and human aspects of videoblogging, I propose the videoblogging definition of:

Videoblog: Video in a blog format with entries in reverse chronological order that can be syndicated for distribution. The creation and distribution of the videoblog entries are personally controlled by the videoblogger(s) without approval required from any media gatekeeper.

Update on July 10, 2006: I have modified the part of the videoblogging definition from "The creation and distribution of the videoblog is personally controlled..." to "The creation and distribution of the videoblog entries are personally controlled..." This change is to the first comment by Steve Garfield that the individual posts or entries are being created and modified, not the videoblog itself. Thank you Steve for the clarification.

Update March 2, 2007: Adrian Miles, Steve Garfield and Michael Meiser have put up thoughtful and important responses to this post. I have been away doing other things and will respond soon.

2 Responses to “Defining Videoblogging”

  1. steve garfield Says:

    I like that.

    Once slight addition might be:

    “The creation and distribution of the videoblog content is personally controlled by the videoblogger(s) without approval required from any media gatekeeper.”

    The videoblog itself is not being created over and over, nor is the videoblog being distributed. The content is being created and distributed.

    What you are creating each time you post a video to your blog is a videblog post, not a new vlog.

    Some video hosting sites are calling videos vlogs, but that’s not right.

  2. Michael Meiser Says:

    I too like it. I like it a lot.

    I do however have two problems with it.

    1) defining vlog as a *blog* except with video. I was always taught you don’t define a word using a derivative.. or a word which the very word itself was derived from. If a “blog” is a web based journal, or web based log, then why can a video blog be a web based video journal or log?

    2) Video blogs don’t HAVE to have syndication do they? Ussually they do, but not always. Of course I’m not dead set against defining them in this way. I merely mean to ask why video blogs need RSS. I guess we should check if blogs MUST have RSS on wikiepdia and perhaps go from there in the discussion?

    I like what you’ve done and how you’ve broken it down. Did you post this on the video theory yahoo group? Perhaps I’ve overlooked it and just not gotten back there yet. If so I appologize.

    I’ve spoken to MANY who are fed up with even trying to edit the wikipedia article. I think this is a MUCH better way to discuss it. I’ll attempt to post my thoughts on my blog in the coming days.