It’s easy to understand why blogs have become as popular as they have. It’s a perfect storm of cultural factors. Right at the moment where we’re more celebrity obsessed than we’ve ever been, with smaller and smaller niches of fame being carved out of nothing more solid than the insatiable desire for attention and the stratification of media into smaller and smaller subsets of interest, and the dissipation of physical communication in favor of electronic communication that creates an even stronger need for some kind of human connection, comes the decentralization of the publishing process allowing anyone the possibility for self-expression and possible recognition. Without any editorial oversight to threaten possible rejection, which is one of the strongest deterrents against bad writing, people are free to perform on the world stage with either uninhibited self-exposure, or impenetrable anonymity.
There, I just explained blogging to you in the most obvious 2003 terms ever. You’re welcome. The point is: sure, blogging. Got it. Makes sense. But what is up with vlogging? Where blogs allow people to express themselves on the open market to as wide an audience as there is an interest in what they have to say, vlogging seems to allow people to fail to express themselves in mumbled incomplete sentences to an audience of none, with unsynched audio and horrible lighting. It’s like if shirtless MySpace self-portraits could talk. If you take the most inarticulate, grammatically incorrect blog post you’ve ever read it’s still going to be 10 times more thoughtful than your average vlog.
Which is why this new website, blogtv.com (thanks for the tip, Lisa), is blowing my mind right now.
The premise of BlogTV is that users can vlog LIVE. Because that’s what was missing from vlogs? They needed to be even less premeditated and more off-the-cuff? Genius. Most users seem to be under the impression that they have shows, that these are TV shows. The regressive concept of TV as being something that only requires an iSight camera and a drive-thru headset is so bizarre. Considering the fact that everyone in America watches an average of 23 hours of TV a day, you’d think we’d all know what TV was. This, for example, is not TV:
The most amazing part of BlogTV is the incorporated chat function, because while it theoretically offers a new way to inter-connect and interact with content providers (haha, right, content providers), what actually happens is EVERY SINGLE VLOG turns into someone reading a chat transcript in front of their computer. What is that? Even worse is when two people decide to co-host a vlog, which turns into an echo-chamber mind-fuck of suicidal proportions.
The disaster of this site becomes really apparent when you discover that even “professional” vloggers, like Philip DeFranco painfully stumble through the impromptu nature of speaking your mind into a camera without the corrective benefit of iMovie and “dissolve” filters.
Also, whoops, you’re a “professional vlogger.” Can you imagine what a Diddy Blog would be like on this site? It would be 43 hours long, and it would cover all of human experience. And it would be the worst.
For the time being we can sleep soundly in the knowledge that vlogging will mostly remain the hobby of 14-year-old children paving the way to future embarrassment. But if there’s any darker meaning to sites like BlogTV it’s that one day one of these children is going to be President of the United States, and he or she is going to make all of their important decisions based on IMs and status updates. The State of the Union Address is going to be a streaming vlog. “Hey America, check your PMs.”