The First Vlog to Pro-Vlogger! panel took place on Creator Day of Summer in the City 2018 in Panel Room B, as part of International Vlogging Day. It featured Jamie Jo, Luke Cutforth, and Steven Bridges, and was moderated by TenEighty Editor AJ Brinnand.
The definition of vlogging has undergone a transformation since the beginning of YouTube: originally it referred to simply sitting in front of a camera and talking, but the rise of daily-vlogging has led it to being applied more specifically to slice-of-life content. The first – and broader – definition was established immediately by the panel as the kind they would be discussing.
Just as the term ‘vlogging’ has under undergone a journey over the course of YouTube, so have our panellists. AJ opened the conversation by asking how the panellists felt their content had changed over time.
Luke began by discussing how his viewers are now used to his eclectic mix of content. He initially felt pressure to conform to one type of content (as the algorithm prefers) but now has “no style or format” and instead makes whatever he feels passionate about. But Luke was quick to acknowledge that this freedom has made it harder to pitch his channel to sponsors, despite the benefit of “being able to apply myself to anything”.
Similarly, Steven finds the concept of scheduled uploads on a niche topic very limiting. He said: “I can’t realistically work a trick in a week” and thus, over time, he has begun to prioritise quality of the magic tricks over quantity. However, this goes against YouTube’s algorithm which drives viewers towards consistent uploaders.
The conversation moved along to how a ‘relationship’ develops between the creator and the viewers through vlogs. For Jamie, her art videos were much more detached from the viewer and she began to create more personal vlogs which, she said, “make people realise that you’re a person”. She also commented that vlogs such as tags are much quicker to produce than the 20-hours-plus she spends recording a single art vide. As a result, balancing the two has become crucial to keeping viewers engaged.
AJ then asked the panellists what they would change if they could go back to the start of their vlogging days. Luke joked about how he filmed his first videos in black and white because he didn’t want viewers to know he was ginger. More seriously, he said “you do have things about you that make you different” in the sense that the key to vlogging is having a personality that stands out. Jamie agreed that initially, she was “trying to be someone I wasn’t” and that is something she has had to unlearn.
All three panellists have previously maintained second channels but have since stopped using them. AJ suggested that this is because daily-vlogging is now a more accepted type of content to be uploading rather than just an extra on the side.
Steven had enjoyed using his as there was a lack of expectations for it, whereas he feels pressure to upload magic videos to his main channel as those are videos that go viral and are what people subscribe for. Part of the reason is, of course, the algorithm. And as Steven aptly put it, “you don’t really benefit from diluting your content.”
The panel ended with a debate on whether the algorithm favours newer channels or ‘legacy channels’, the debate being that newer channels will have newer content but legacy channels have an established audience. Either way, the panel noted that now that channel suggestions no longer appear when you subscribe to someone, collabs are an increasingly important way to help viewers navigate from one YouTuber to the next.
At the end, there was only time for one question. An audience member asked what advice the panellists would give to someone just starting out on vlogging. Jamie recommended “[using] the same name on all platforms” to create a clear brand, while Steven suggested that, in terms of daily-vlogging specifically, if your life is fairly normal, to vlog about it in a unique way. Be that via editing, camera work, or your personality.
Photos by George Yonge.
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