Video bloggers ready to incite 'media revolution'

This weekend's Vloggercon will be a rallying point for enthusiasts to plot their ragtag online uprising against commercial TV.

As Jordan Nealy blows out four candles on her birthday cake in South Carolina, Irina Slutsky interviews a technology executive in Texas, and Helene Cardona recites a poem from a train platform in Los Angeles.

What's the common thread between these seemingly unrelated acts? They're all early April entries on three different video blogs, and together they illustrate the diversity emerging from the flourishing world of video blogging, which will take center stage this weekend in San Francisco at the Vloggercon conference.

Jordan, 4, is one of the stars of Erin Nealy's "Mom's Brag Vlog." Slutsky is the anchor for "Geek Entertainment TV," a somewhat snarky video news blog about Web 2.0. And Cardona is one of many featured subjects filmed by Gena Haskett on her socially conscious "Out on the Stoop" video blog.

Despite their varying demographics, technical skills, artistic styles and purpose, these video bloggers, or "vloggers"--along with more than 300 other participants at the sold out conference--share an enthusiasm for the format they use to tell their stories.

Some of the participants and video blogging pioneers feel they're a part of a "media revolution"--one that could finally give people "a viable alternative to commercial TV," says video blogger Josh Wolf. "People don't have to sit back and listen to whatever the media is feeding them."

Vloggercon organizer Schlomo Rabinowitz adds, "I can seek out work that's meaningful to me."

The vlog difference
The conference is also about the exchange of ideas and information: Discussion topics range from how the popular and quirky Rocketboom launched to its current viewership of 50,000 per day, to how to "pimp out" a video blog.

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Some participants also see the weekend as a sort of family reunion and an opportunity to network and share resources.

"It's about connecting with old friends I met a year ago online," says Markus Sandy, a longtime software developer who runs workshops about video blogging.

Nealy, a stay-at-home mom who happened on video blogging while looking for a place to host video of her kids, adds that she's most looking forward to meeting people she's gotten to know online. "I've yet to meet a video blogger in person," she says.

Video blogs, "vlogs," are just like regular blogs in almost every way. They're interactive online diaries, archived in chronological order with the most recent entry on top. The difference is that in place of text, or in addition to it, video blogs consistently offer original video clips, which can range from short feature films to news reports to raw footage of everyday life.

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