Vlogging influences of lonelygirl15

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Lonelygirl15 could not have existed before the concept of videoblogging (or vlogging) - people posting video of themselves online in a diary-like format -- became a reality.

The Dawn of Vlogging

Vlogging as a social phenomenon slowly started to take root in 2004, as the number of high-speed internet connections started to take off and improvements in streaming video and average home computer technology made vlogging possible. Activity grew in various areas of the web, such as the Yahoo videoblogging group, but even as late as the summer of 2005, videoblogging was just a very small part of the greater blogosphere. One of the earliest popular videoblogs was Rocketboom (featuring Amanda Congdon), which started in October 2004. Meanwhile, youtube.com, which provided an easy platform for vloggers, went live in "beta" format in May 2005.

An Idea Is Born: The Creators Meet Vlogs

Shoutboy logo

In early 2006, Creator Miles Beckett was looking for a way to create and distribute content online. His first endeavor was Shoutboy.com, an ambitious idea for the budding doctor. The site promised that "SHOUTBOY is an independent media network ... using the newest internet technology to distribute shows directly to you on your schedule and on your terms. No cable company. No middleman. He's out back mowing the lawn." As Miles has stated in various interviews, the comedy videos posted at Shoutboy (mostly parody videos of President Bush), did "OK" but didn't get a lot of traffic.

At about this same time, Miles became aware of the existence of youtube.com. He reported in at least one press interview that he started exploring YouTube after the controversy involving Saturday Night Live's skit "Lazy Sunday", which, when it went "viral," put YouTube in the limelight.

As Miles explored YouTube, he became aware of the growing community of vloggers, and noticed that many were among the most popular draws on the website. From there, he conceived of the idea of creating a fictional videoblogger that could tell a story, and tap into the community and traffic growth being enjoyed at YouTube (instead of trying to grow an audience from scratch as shoutboy.com was trying to do). When Miles met Mesh Flinders, they started to turn that idea into reality.

Lonelygirl15 Leverages The Vloggers

In lonelygirl15's first two videos (posted on May 24 and 26, 2006, predating her trademark vlogs by almost a month), Bree made references to popular vloggers, and even included clips from some of the them.

Brookers, thewinekone, paytotheorderofofof2, FilthyWhore, bowiechick, kaiserro11, scream0 are all either referenced or appear in the early comments to these videos.

Lonelygirl15's first vlog First Blog / Dorkiness Prevails (June 16, 2006) included direct "shoutouts" to paytoorderofofof2 and thewinekone. And the title of the video itself was a reference to a May 31, 2006 video by thewinekone entitled "Hotness Prevails / Worst Video Ever."

Lg15 Vlogging Style vs. Top Vloggers

The Creators fully embraced from the vlog format from Bree's very first video, and also added touches that have made their videos more watchable. First, Bree's early videos were sure not to be too long. Many vloggers were (and are) happy to create 5-10 minute vlogs, but the Creators knew this taxed the attention span of the average youtuber. So, while an early video might consist of Bree primarily talking to her camera the entire time, it would be fairly short in length.

To add drama to the monologue quality of vlogs, in addition to having Jessica Rose act very animinated in her videos (a tactic spoofed in YouTubers Secret Language), the Creators developed their own style of using quick and frequent cuts. Closeups interspersed with regular shots done mid-sentence were used empahsize certain dialogue and add drama. This style appears to have been mimicked by other vloggers from time to time since lg15 debuted. And it has not gone unnoticed by Hollywood either. In Nov. 2006, a Law and Order episode told the story of vlogger WeepingWillow17. In the beginning of one scene, a film professor is seen talking to a student. He says, "that's not editing, Miles. That's just death by a thousand cuts. That's just visual masturbation." Clearly this is a sign that Hollywood fears the future of internet video.

EmoKid21Ohio: The risk of fictional vlogging

EmoKid21Ohio was an early fictional YouTube vlogger that may have served as a cautionary tale to the Creators about the risks of trying to appear "real" on YouTube. EmoKid was one of the 1st 25 channels "Bree" subscribed to, and featured a vlogger who created a fictitious persona--in this case, a man in Britian who pretended to be an "emo kid" in Ohio. The channel drew huge attention for the time at YouTube after it debuted on April 3, 2006. Before the month was over, however, EmoKid21Ohio's real identity, and the identity of his partner-in-vlogging, EmoGirl21, had been tracked down via MySpace and exposed. In this case, it marked the dramatic end of emokid's popularity. EmoKid, however, did not take any great steps to protect his privacy, and had no master plans for his character. After the Creators were outed in September 2006, he made a video lamenting the fact that he believed he had been the inspiration for their success.

External Links

  • Entry for Vlog at Wikipedia [1]
  • Rocketboom (early popular vlog) [2]
  • Internet Archive of most subscribed YouTube channels on May 17th, 2006 [3]