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February 22, 2019

How and why to do a video blog (Vlog) on YouTube


If you've been thinking about writing a blog, I encourage you. Speaking for myself, I like to write down my thoughts. A blog is kind of like a diary, except that people on the internet can see it. And even if you've checked off every "privacy" box you can, if you put something out on the internet, you need to consider it public. Personally, I like that, as it makes me feel as if I'm not just talking to myself. Although talking to myself is exactly what I do on my blogs (I write several), and I write stuff the way that I would like to be spoken to. I don't like rants, and very few people do. Just talk about stuff, like I'm doing here. Don't be preachy, don't be sarcastic. You can be funny, if you're a funny person naturally, if not, don't try. Please. So I encourage you to write a blog!

Anyway, an even better thing to do is a Vlog, which is a video blog. It's really the same idea, except that instead of typing, you talk. If you have a good speaking voice, it's for you. And if you have a "face for radio", don't panic, because although you'll want to show your face a bit, mostly people don't like staring at faces the whole time in a video, so you can show the world around you, all you have to do is to move the camera away from your face to what you're looking at.

Remember that attention spans are short on the internet, so don't go thinking that you're gonna hold someone's attention in a video for a half-hour. That being said, don't make them so short that it might as well be a gif. Just a few minutes is fine, but no shorter, and certainly no longer than fifteen minutes.

And there's no need to go all "Hollywood" on the video. Fancy introductions are just a waste on an internet video - get to the point right away. I'd suggest that you start the video with the camera pointed at your face, and then panned to see what you're talking about. I'm assuming that you're talking about maybe walking along a scenic trail, or maybe skydiving.

And no "infomercial" stuff! If you're tempted to turn you video into one long commercial, don't. It's OK to say that you're in, for example, the wilderness of Maine, but there's no reason to make it a sales pitch. People hate that. They can Google Maine themselves if they want to. Just show them a mountain, or a flower. You don't even have to say the name of the mountain, or the species of flower. In fact, it would better if you didn't.

You can record it on your phone, but do everyone a favor and don't upload it from there. Do a bit of trimming as necessary on your desktop computer, and then upload it to YouTube. And don't be tempted to add a bunch of music, or captioning, that just spoils the sincerity of the video. But do check that the sound is OK, that your voice isn't drowned out by the sound of the ocean, that sort of thing.

I'm looking forward to seeing your first Vlog post! If you have a camera phone, a YouTube account, a face, and a voice, you can do this.

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