Tuesday, October 27, 2015
Vlogging vloggers and their followers
Vlogging has been on my mind a lot recently. A rather infamous blogger, whose blog I no longer follow, apparently announced (I heard this through the grapevine, but through a reputable source) she was going to begin a daily vlog, following in the footsteps of a lot of other folks who are doing the same thing, and supposedly making money at it.
I read in the paper this morning about about two Christian vloggers who document their daily family life on YouTube as their new profession, speaking on everything from their faith to their pregnancies to their marital issues. (Here's a link: http://gawker.com/christian-youtubers-welcome-new-baby-to-a-lifetime-of-m-1736023268
It seems strange to me that in a society where most of us barely have time to keep up with our extended family and friends that for some of us, we still find enough time to watch -- or worse, record -- a daily vlog which reaches out to total strangers about the daily minutiae of ordinary life, be it rural or urban.
If Malala had a vlog I'd probably watch that, but she's obviously got more perspective than to think talking into a video camera about herself every day is a productive way to be in the world. She's too busy trying to change it for the better.
As for homesteading and having a daily vlog, it seems to me that if you're really walking the walk, how in the world would you have time for this? After all, vlogging is a lot more complex than just blogging, which is a lot like journaling. In blogging, you sit down and take a quiet moment to share news or write about something that's been on your mind. That's a quiet time of reflection, thinking and, in a sense, authoring and writing. And if you happen to be a writer, it's a good way to keep your hand in the game.
But setting up your phone or a camera to record yourself and talking to it, or worse, setting it up to record yourself doing some task or other seems like a HUGE time waster if you're homesteading and at the time of year when the days are getting shorter, like right now. Less daylight for the same tasks. Tick tock goes the clock.
Or maybe you just plan on having nightly fireside chats with your viewers and talking about all the stuff you did. Would people watch it? Who knows?
You know, if someone wants to make a living doing stuff like this, and other people 1) have enough free time or 2) lack the brain space to figure out they could be doing something better than watching someone else live their lives, then I guess I don't really have a dog in this fight and should just leave well enough alone.
It just seems strange. First, reality TV and now, reality TV via YouTube. Because, obviously, we just can't get enough of the Kardashians, Real Housewives and Braxtons and need even more content, with people just living. Or staging what they want us to think their lives are like, anyway.
Of course the financial pragmatist in me would love to ask these YouTube fame-seekers how their retirement accounts are doing, or whether they are satisfied with their health care, or whether they've thought about the 10 - 20 year prospects of this new job of theirs. Like any other career in show business, the odds of long-term fame are almost nil, unless you really hit the jackpot. But at least, even for the waiter who occasionally finds work in TV or movies, he does get compensated at union wages, and if he finds roles often enough, will eventually be eligible for SAG/AFTRA union retirement, health care, etc. YouTubers get no such benefits.
But of course, these practical things like figuring out a way to live when you are 70 pale in comparison to achieving a minor status of fame and having followers right now.
But here's a lovely little irony: In other news, I read another article that said that by the end of this century, certain geographic regions of the Middle East/North Africa will no longer be able to sustain human habitation, due to temperatures rising to new summer highs of 165 - 170 degrees, or the equivalent of an oven hot enough to cook a chicken nicely.
The vlogging vloggers and their band of blind followers somehow never seem to tackle topics like this, instead preferring to bombard us us with day-in-the-life type posts -- every day -- featuring their freshly made-up faces front and center and banal stories of "what I did today." Which may explain why a certain segment of the population prefers them to the actual reality of their lives and their planet. It's an uncomfortable reality we're facing more and more.
Maybe the YouTube vlogging phenomenon is an unconscious attempt to distract attention from the elephant, who at this point is roasting, in the room.