So my dearest Wanderers as our series on Forms of Fandom starts to draw to a close, I must admit I’m rather hoping that you are getting all fired up and ready to try something new. Just in case you are keen but not quite sure where to start, I thought it might be useful to remind you of something we discussed way back in 2012 – the art of vlogging.
Vlogging or video-blogging is just another fun way to share your thoughts and feelings on something fandom related. However, as someone who is relatively camera-shy, I understand that the prospect of recording yourself and sharing it with the world can be just a tad daunting. Hopefully, these tips will soothe away your concerns and give you the confidence you need to get out there!
- Anonymity: Deciding whether or not to use your real name or put your face to a vlog is probably one of the most important and difficult decisions that you’re going to have to make. Ultimately, it is your choice but think about the pros and cons. Remember that once you put your face or name out there, it can be very difficult for you to control that information.
Do be careful about giving away any personal details in your vlog such as your address, your current location and your place of education or work. These are details which could be used to breach your privacy even if you are using a different name. If you are going to do a face to webcam vlog then be aware of your surroundings and how you could inadvertently be giving out private information = for example, by wearing a hoodie with your university’s name on it.
- Technology: No-one is expecting you to be the next Steven Spielberg and hey even he had to start somewhere. On the other hand, it sort of defeats the purpose of a vlog if the audio isn’t working or the zooming of the camera makes your audience a bit queasy! I’m no technological expert but even I know to check the microphone, keep the camera steady and focused on one spot and if necessary to just review before posting!
You definitely don’t have to rush out and buy a fancy new camera just to produce a good vlog. Most laptops have built in webcams which are pretty good. This may also be an exciting opportunity for you to learn some new skills such as video editing.
- Get creative: There are a lot of vlogs out there on the internet, all of them vying for attention. By getting creative you can make your vlog stand out for the right reasons. By using music, video clips and artwork you can emphasise key points in your argument or lighten the mood with a bit of humour.
However, as tempting as it can be to show off your newfound techno-knowledge, do try not to go overboard with the special effects. Trying to watch a vlog which is overloaded with music and video clips can be just as bad, if not worse, as watching a blank screen!
- Be prepared: There are many different ways to vlog, not all of them include delivering a speech to your audience but if you do decide to go down the most conversational route then preparation is key. It is all too easy to start talking about one issue and then five minutes later realise that you are rambling.
It can be frustrating for viewers to click on your vlog because they wanted to hear an opinion about one particular issue and find that the content isn’t relevant to the title. This is particularly important if you want to talk about a controversial or emotive issue. If you plan what you are going to say in advance then you can articulate your opinion in an intelligent and sensitive manner.
- Try not to be reactionary: Sometimes, vloggers feel like they just have to get something off their chest. Perhaps they are angry about the reaction to the latest plot development in their favourite television programme or there is an ongoing issue in their fandom that is bugging them. In the same way you would have a grumble to your best friend over a cup of tea, you might record your feelings and share them online.
Be wary of doing this. It might make you feel better to get that rant out of your system in the short term but generally it seems that such vlogs don’t get a positive response. Viewers tend to find them either funny or offensive, but they are not usually won around to your point of view. If you genuinely feel passionate about something then the best thing you can do is do your research, prepare your points in advance and put up a vlog where you express them clearly and calmly.
Red Hamilton (is impressed that those moving pictures come with sound now…)