Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Would video kill the blog star?

Anybody out there vlog? Make Web videos? I've seen some writers vlog, answering questions about their writing or giving advice. Or just goofing off. (I tend to like those better). And many pubbed writers do Web videos to drum up interest in their forthcoming books.

There was a bizarrely heated comment thread on this post over at Moonrat's blog a few days ago (seriously there are like 83 comments, at least half from "anonymous" hack writers driven certifiably insane by their piles of rejection letters and ragin' cases of the green-eyed monster) about whether Web video trailers for soon-to-be-published books actually increase sales or awareness.

I'm not here to weigh in on that because I have no idea. I do know I like book trailers that are well done, like the one for Cindy Pon's Silver Phoenix, which just came out yesterday.

But watching a vlog recently from a publishing-world blogger freaked me out a little. It's like when you're in elementary school and one evening you see your teacher in the grocery store or at the mall. Wait, what? Did I stumble into an alternate universe? Mrs. Whitten is a real person?

Most of us have those little profile pics at the top of our blogs, and subconsciously I guess I base my idea of someone on that one little picture and on her writing style. The vlog I watched the other day freaked me out because the person did not look like his/her profile pic (his/her head actually looked longer) and didn't sound anything like I thought he/she would. Which means there's been this entire person in my head who does not exist. *cue Twilight Zone theme* I'm sure this is a fabulous person in real life and maybe we would be BFF if we ever met, but it's still just...weird.

The whole thing made me wonder: if I ever do a vlog or YouTube video, would it freak anyone out?

I think it might.

I had a lisp growing up, and it's still noticeable when I speak (sthpeak?) in to a microphone. Plus I have a lower voice, and on camera you might think I sound like this guy:

Or maybe my upper arms will look flabby or you could see this weird flat part at the bridge of my nose, or you could just get blinded by all this paleness looking back at you through the Web cam.

Avert your eyes! ...Er...your...uh...

The point of vlogs and Web videos is to attract people. But one of the good things about picture/text blogs is that you can control, to a point, how you're perceived.

In a video it's all out there. Just waiting to freak people out. Thoughts?


Justus M. Bowman said...

Recently I saw an image of Nathan Bransford on a blogger's site and thought, "Really? That's Nathan?". I guess by putting a pretty, static image on the web, you're running the risk of freaking people out when you meet them in real life. Ha ha.

Justus M. Bowman said...

Not to say Nathan's visage grossed me out. It just surprised me.

KLo said...

My fourteen-year-old vlogs. She does all that technological stuff that I struggle with. It's a different language that this new generation speaks ... (and I'm in my early thirties, so how sad is it that I'm saying "this new generation" lol?)

PurpleClover said...

Ouch Justus.

Lol. I thought about this the other day since we all pour over our pics on our memory cards looking for "the one" that we can tweak and brighten or darken to make us look skinny, or tall, or tan, or whatever the case may be. I thought, Hmmm...if I actually did a VLOG what would these people think then? Would they like me less?

I'm totally with ya sista. But on the flip side, I saw Suzanne Young's vlog and I have to tell you...she acts/sounds/looks just like she does in my mind based on her static pic. :)

Anna Claire said...

Oh I love Suzanne's blog! Somehow I missed the vlog so now I'm headed over to find it.

Justus, now I'm curious because I have an image of Nathan being this nice California-cool dude who maybe likes to surf and have cookouts with friends.

Liana Brooks said...

Since I'm usually on the computer after the children are in bed I skip vlogs altogether. Anything I have to turn the sound on for gets passed, so it hasn't worked for me.

But with the up-and-coming TV generation who lives for YouTube making up a good percentage of market shares... yes, I could see me making a book trailer and maybe reading for a vlog once I was closer to my debut novel hitting the shelves. Anything to get buyers to attention I guess.

Justus M. Bowman said...

I had the same image, and then...I saw a picture that made him seem more accessible; that is, his facial features reminded me of various people I know.

Lenore said...

I would love to hear your seductive Barry White voice!

I haven't done a vlog because I'm not really an on-camera type. Maybe that'll change, but for now, I don't feel like it is something I need to do.

beth said...

It's kind of like how you hear someone on the radio and have an entirely different idea of how they really look in their pictures!

I don't like vlogs--yet. I feel it's too much trouble to wait for it load, etc. Also: I read faster than people talk, so waiting on them to say the book review (or whatever) takes long than if I could actually just read it.

In the future...this might change. I dunno. But technology will have to make vlogs instantaneous and flashier than they are now before they're worth my time.

Anna Claire said...

Beth, I'm so with you about the reading faster than people talk thing.

Plus, I read some blogs during breaks at work, but I wouldn't feel comfortable watching a video at the office (wouldn't want the boss to think I'm not working, har har).

PurpleClover said...

If you haven't found Suzanne's yet its under her other blog "Lipstick Lit"...she hasn't Vlogged since January I think or February but it's so cute!

Lauren said...

I haven't ever vlogged. I hadn't heard of it. Starting to get out of touch, I guess. :-P

Maybe I'll have to try to do a vlog one day... :) Thanks for teaching me about some of the newer techno things out there :)