If you are a content creator, social media fan, or just someone who peruses the internet, you have probably come across the term vlog – and you may be wondering just what it means.
Let’s break down the word so you’ll know exactly what it means.
First Comes the Blog
Vlog is a transformation of the word “blog” which has been around a lot longer: most people with any online experience are likely familiar with the word blog, which most people tend to think of as a sort of online journal or diary.
The word blog was born in the late 1990s as more internet content was being created and people finding new ways to use the web. In 1997, the word “weblog” was coined to describe a particular type of web page – a literal web log where the page was regularly updated with different logs describing the latest changes to the site.
Before long, people started using weblogs to record general news, updates about their lives or companies, industry reports, and all the other content we see so often today.
About two years later, in 1999, a writer called Peter Merholz made a quick, simple joke on his website about pronouncing “weblog” as “we blog” and mentioned that maybe he would just start calling it a “blog.”
The term “blog” was quickly picked up by the various corners of the internet: people liked how it sounded, and it was a friendly term for the more mainstream content that weblogs were beginning to see. Think of it like one of the early and most successful internet memes…which brings us to today.
Making a Vlog Out of It
As you can probably tell, a vlog is simply the word blog with “video” added to it. This is an example of a portmanteau, which is a word born from the collision of two or three other words. The English language does this all the time – “brunch” is a mix of “breakfast” and “lunch,” and so on. Vlog is just the latest example.
It’s also pretty obvious that a vlog focuses on video. A traditional blog can include video, and many blogs try to put in a few videos in their timeline to mix up the content and give people something new to look at.
A vlog takes this approach several steps further and creates a blog that’s nothing but videos. It uses video as the method of building an audience and communicating any information that audience.
This usually requires a mix of simple, less formal videos that are just the vlogger chatting for a couple minutes and longer, more professional videos that focus on the primary objective of the vlog. These videos may have brief descriptions, notes, or transcripts.
Vlogging: What Are They all About?
So, what are vlogs about? They tend to be more active, immediate places than traditional blogs. The video format lends itself well to live experiences, interviews, tours, exploration, and other things that you just can’t do with simple text.
As a result, vlogs often tackle more intricate or personal subjects. One vlog might specialize in how-to pieces on decorating or art projects. Another might take the viewer along for a ride exploring a landmark, a cool car, or a digital experience like a video game. Some vlogs are simply casual journals with videos of people talking about their lives.
While vloggers can post a series of videos to a web page like a blog, this format isn’t as conducive for watching videos. Instead, many modern vloggers use a dedicated video platform like YouTube. Here they create their own channel, or a specific vlog devoted to their interests where they can build up a portfolio of videos. These channels make money through advertisements, although vloggers often ask for separate contributions as well.