A vlog—a portmanteau of video and blog—is a videography style that’s less formal and more conversational than other types of videos. Vlogs are usually hosted on community-based video streaming platforms like Vimeo and YouTube. Unlike other types of video content, the goal of vlogging is to build a candid, familiar relationship between the vlog creator and their audience.
Typically, a vlog follows a subject or subjects as they go about daily life in a way that resembles a documentary more than instructional or interview-style videos. Vlogs are often focused on specific topics that would interest an audience. A common vlog topic, for example, is travelling to a new destination and sharing all of the details about the trip, including restaurants, accommodations, and excursions. Other vlog topics include major life events (moving to a new city, having a baby, getting married, etc.), grief and community support, and “day in the life” videos.
History of vlogging
Vlogs have existed since the 1980s, but vlogging really took off as a trend once YouTube launched in 2005. In fact, the first video that was published on YouTube—“Me at the zoo”—was a vlog-format video created by one of YouTube’s co-founders, Jawed Karim:
Early vlogs were video diaries of sorts, where amateur filmmakers would sit in front of their cameras, share their inner monologues, and upload those videos to their personal websites. The rise of vlogging as a natural evolution of text-based blogging reflected a broader shift in the technology and marketing industries toward video content and visual storytelling.
Vlogging statistics from the last few years reflect its growing popularity in the video content industry:
- 86% of vlogs on the internet come from YouTube creators (Google, 2016)
- 44% of internet users watch vlogs every month (GlobalWebIndex, 2016)
- The number of users earning a six-figure income from YouTube grows by more than 40% year over year (YouTube)
The rise of video content on platforms like TikTok and Instagram could change our current understanding of vlogging. Instead of posting heavily edited videos that are 20+ minutes long to YouTube, younger creators have started documenting their lives in shorter, impromptu videos that live on their personal profiles rather than dedicated YouTube channels. The content of these videos, however, are similar to traditional vlogs by nature.
There are a few basic tools that are required to create a vlog. Many amateur vloggers use smartphones to record video, but some full-time vloggers use professional digital cameras or action cameras like GoPro or DJI. Tripods, stabilizers, and a variety of mounts are often used to capture different angles. Some vloggers also use lavalier or shotgun mics to improve the audio quality of their videos.