The Paw Print

My attempt at ‘vlogging’

Nichole Crawley, Staff Reporter

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Since the beginning of time, humans have found pride in writing things down. We record everything from accomplishments to food recipes, and the idea of journaling thoughts and ideas goes back hundreds (if not thousands) of years. It’s only natural that in the shift to the digital age, we move our paper journals into digital formats, and eventually publish them online.

According to educause.edu, the genre of blogs was named by Jesse James Garrett, the editor of infosoft, who compiled a list of websites that were link-based commentaries. Thus began the popular genre that remains incredibly prominent in this digital age: vlogging. This was the idea of spreading information through more personal narratives.

Though vlogs existed before YouTube, vlogging did not become popular until nearly 2006, when the world-changing video site Youtube was created. This site was founded in February of 2005 as a free video-sharing place, and encouraged people of all ages and backgrounds to publish videos for the public to view.

People began to become entranced by the idea of digital videos as a means by which to spread ideas, and the genre of vlogs skyrocketed. Now, famous vloggers get millions a views a week and earn money from YouTube’s ads.

The success of vlogs and those who create them was unexpected, yet they continue to get more and more popular in our internet-obsessed world. But how are people able to vlog, isn’t it weird talking to a camera? Or how it seems effortless for some YouTubers to whip out a camera anywhere and just start filming themselves and others around them without a second thought.

So with these questions in mind, I set out to go test how comfortable I could get with filming myself on camera in public for 2 days. With my 70D Canon camera set up on a handheld tripod, I headed out to a few destinations to collect data in different environments.

Day one began on Saturday, where I would drop by Walmart and Target. I couldn’t help the nervousness I felt in the car while driving over, the mere thoughts of what people would think of me or what they might say/do caused me to become increasingly anxious.

I kept reminding myself that these feelings are completely normal though as many find it to be an uncomfortable and awkward experience when on camera. Scientific research done by psychologist Robert Zajonc in 1968, claims that this is due to confirmation bias and the peculiarities of the mere-exposure effect coming together to make sure that seeing yourself on screen is anxiety-inducing.

I arranged the camera on the shopping cart to be able to face me as I walked around the store. I brought a list of ingredients to make a soup so I would be able to make sly comments and show off the product to the camera to create more interaction with both the “viewer” and those around me.

While in Walmart the only the data I was able to collect was more on my thoughts/feelings rather than those around me. I only got a few glances here and there but no other type of reaction. I must admit I was a little surprised; my assumptions of how people would act was completely demolished, no one was trying to steal my spotlight or do unusual/funny things that you might see on some background of videos.

It was a relief to be out of the store and back into the safe-haven of my car, but my day wasn’t over yet. My next destination was Target. In this store I would be shopping for a few items of clothing and would be hand-holding my camera on its adjoining tripod.

While inside, I was much more conscious of all the observance I received while talking to the camera in the clothes section. A few girls whispered to each other while glancing in my direction and others just gawked for a few seconds and then shrugged it off and busied themselves with what they were previously doing. Yet again, no one approached me nor performed anything in the background.

As the second day approached, I couldn’t help but notice how I was slowly shaking off the previous nerves and uncomfortable feelings that seemed to consume me. Visibly my self confidence was rising, I became more at ease having a general outline of what is to be expected of those around me.

Once more I opted to hold my camera as I wandered around Eastland Mall, remarking on the items displayed in storefronts and things that caught my eye. This setting provided me with a wide range of audiences, ranging from teen-agers to older personnel.

As I got a few stares from adults strolling by, the teenagers who crossed my path made quite a ruckus as they noticed me, asking if they could be in my video while waving, sticking their tongue out, and putting the peace sign up in front of the lens. Other than this occurrence, the rest of the time I spent in the place was interrupted, and I seemed to have tuned those surrounding me out while my consciousness wasn’t bothered by them anymore.

Overall, this experience was a success. Don’t get me wrong though, vlogging for the first time in public is not easy. It’s pretty nerve wracking at the start but as I learned with the perseverance to keep vlogging, I felt more comfortable as each minute passed.

In overcoming these fears, it’s best to focus on what content needs to be recorded and how the shot should look. When you’re focusing on that, it can take your mind off of your insecurities and anxieties. With the progression of our digital age, it is clear that this is the way of the future, and it’s better to be a pioneer before it’s something almost standard in everyday life.

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My attempt at ‘vlogging’