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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

On vlogs: Authentic and Passionate

Here's an email exchange I had with Kent Bye of Echo Chamber Project:

Steve Garfield: My FireAnt has over 1,000 unwatched videos in it.

Kent Bye: Ah. Information overload has hit the vlogosphere.

Yeah, it'll be even worse with Rich Media.

That's why we'll need more vlog soups and revlogs to help filter and find stuff.

And you don't even need to be a vlogger to be a traffic director.

Steve Garfield: Did you see Vlog Soup #8. My computer had a lot of cut outs and drop outs when I recorded direct to disk. Two people didn't like it, others like it and think it's something that I should figure out how to recreate and sell. Ha ha.

Kent Bye: heh, I definitely don't think you could package it.

Hmmm... I actually liked it at first. It's a bit of a novelty.

But I could see how it could grate on some people's nerves.

I actually liked how you included some false starts in there more than the Max Hedrum effect.

I'm very hesitant about production quality as well -- since I want everything to be perfect.

We all want to get it just right, but it's nice to see the outtakes thrown in there. It adds some authenticity.

After listening to Adam Curry's podcast a bit, I realize that sometimes it's better to screw up some and be authentic about it, than it is to make it just right on the 15th take after all of the emotional impact has been sucked dry.

I'm recording intros to podcasts, and I realize that the ones where I got the feelings and passion right were *much better* than the ones where I was focusing on getting the words just right.

I mean, your words are getting hammered by the digital side effects -- and in the end you can still get the gist of what you're saying because you can really tell that you're passionate about vlogging. So the *right words* in your case aren't even that vital.

Steve Garfield: I think people used to TV will not like it and those who follow what I am doing will appreciate it for what it is. Different then TV.

Kent Bye: Again, I think the difference is the passion and the emotions that you bring to the table.

People will forgive the quality if there is authenticity -- or humor -- which is what you sometimes get with the digital cut outs.

Steve Garfield: Although, as someone who likes to present quality, I run the risk of people who drop by thinking that web video is crappy.

Kent Bye: It seems that production quality and authenticity are inversely proportional.

So I think w/ the medium it's better to err on the authentic and passionate side.

Any monkey who is rich enough can have great production quality, but it's the genuine passion that's severly lacking from TV.

But there is a production threshold that you should strive for -- and it's different for each piece you do.

Authenticity came up a lot at the We Media Conference, and helps explain why Jon Stewart is so popular. Here's certainly funny and has great writers, but Stewart also has a true voice and he's transparent about his worldviews. In that way, people can actually trust him more -- even though he does a "fake news show."

Podcaster Leo Laporte says that quality podcasts come when "you speak from your heart about things you care about that you're passionate about" because people are hungry for authenticity and personal connection. And this certainly extends to blogging and video blogging as well.

Anyway, it's what my wife Jen and I were going for with these two vlog posts, and we seem to be on the right track telling from the feedback we've receive so far.
Ebb and Flow Episode 1
Finding a Home

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