Vlog. Vlogger. Vlogging. These are terms that have become common in our modern YouTube world. But what does it actually mean to be a “vlogger?” Where did the term “vlog” come from? Let’s do a deep dive into this phenomenon.
What Is a Vlog?
The term “vlog” comes from “video blog” or “video log,” and that’s exactly what it is. A vlog is simply a blog where the medium is a video instead of written words.
Of course, “blog” isn’t much more descriptive than “vlog.” Both of these terms are fairly open-ended. Blogs and vlogs encompass a variety of different things, and that’s part of the point.
Someone could run a fashion blog and write about makeup and clothes. In the same way, that person could have a fashion vlog where they reveal their makeup routine and show off new clothes.
A vlog is most often a personal video that is filmed by the subject themselves. Using the example of the fashion vlog, maybe they set up a tripod in their bedroom. A vlog could also be made with nothing more than a GoPro stuck to your chest, or a vlogging camera could just be the smartphone that you already have.
Another important aspect of vlogs is regularity. It’s common for vlogging channels on YouTube to upload videos weekly or even daily. Like the bloggers who write blogs, a vlogger is typically expected to routinely release new content.
The easiest way to think of a vlog is as a personal video created firsthand for the internet.
When Did Vlogging Start?
People typically associate vlogging with YouTube, but the concept of a “vlog” has been around for a long time. The first “video blog” can be traced back to the early 2000s, but it wasn’t until YouTube came around that the idea of vlogging really stuck.
As we’ve previously mentioned, a vlog is just a blog in video form, but vlogging is sort of a separate beast. You could go on a trip to the zoo, record a bunch of videos all day, and edit them together into a single “vlog” titled “Day at the Zoo.” Are you now a vlogger? Technically, but not quite.
Vlogging has become a subgenre on YouTube. Even the person we mentioned above who creates fashion vlogs wouldn’t necessarily be considered a “vlogger.” The term has evolved to mean something more specific.
Nowadays, a “vlogger” is considered to be someone who creates personal videos that feature themselves and their life as the main subject. These types of videos are also typically released on a strict schedule, sometimes even every day of the week.
Even by modern definitions, vlogging has been around for a while. Adam Kontras is known as the “longest active vlogger.” He has been uploading vlogs routinely to his YouTube channel for over 15 years. They may not look like the vlogs you see from more recent bloggers (like Casey Neistat), but he’s vlogging nonetheless.
Speaking of Casey Neistat, if you’re interested in the modern trend of vlogging, a lot of the inspiration can be traced back to him and the daily vlogs he released to YouTube around 2015-2017.
Vlogging Cameras and Tripods
The great thing about vlogging is that you don’t need a lot of fancy equipment to do it. In fact, you may already have everything you need. The only thing that you absolutely need is a camera.
iPhones are particularly popular among vloggers. They sport good cameras and great video features and editing tools. Many vloggers got their start with an iPhone, and you can, too. Even an older iPhone XR would be a good vlogging camera phone to start with.
The next thing you might want is something to hold the phone or camera with. A Joby GorillaPod is great because it can hold a phone, and it’s flexible enough to be attached in many places. You can get one specifically for phones or cameras.
An inexpensive, compact tripod stand for cameras and large phones.
Of course, there’s much, much more that you can get to go deep into vlogging, but that’s the beauty of it. You or whatever it is that you’re showing off takes center stage. It’s personal, and the gear and the quality can take a back seat.