Observations and arguments.

Vloggercon unKeynote (transcript)

A few weeks back I made a video of an imaginary keynote speech I might have liked to have heard at this year’s Vloggercon. The composition was all wrong (why did I think I needed to hide my eyes?), and the audio mix, intended to replicate the echoes of the woodtastic Swedish American Hall sounded more like a low-rent voice of God effect, which was oh so very far from the idea let me tell you.

I’ve decided to include the transcript here. As you’ll note it was written before the present Rocketboom unpleasantness.


We are making media.

We make media in our kitchens, in our basements, in our yards, our living rooms and beds. We make media in cars, on bikes, on planes, on subway trains. Everywhere we are, we are making media.

We are making media in partnership and by ourselves.

We are telling stories, and showing moments.
We are speaking out, and bearing witness.
We are making music, and we are lifting it. Mashing up and mixing.
We are making cinema. We are making television.
We are making something else entirely.
Home movies. Work movies.
Information. Education. Exhortation. Advertisements, art, and porn.
We are forging a brand new international cinema of cats.

We are making connections.
We are reaching out.
to audiences large and small.
and to no one but ourselves.

We deserve to be excited.
It is an exciting time.
It is a revolution,
a seismic shift in human communication.
We are moving faster than theory or industry can follow.
And we are only just beginning.

Those of us who’ve made it here to San Francisco are finally together in the same location. Synchronous. Fully disintermediated.

Our personal space can now be shared. Our words can overlap. We can laugh with each other over a drink in “real” time.

You whom I have known only at two hundred forty pixels high. Or only as a voice. Or from a comment that you made when I needed it most.

I thank you.
For revealing to me a glimpse of your world,
your voice, your vision, your passion,
through the media you have made.

And they are scared of us.
Or if they’re not, they’re fools.

Because every three minutes I am watching your vlog are three minutes I am not consuming the products of the corporate mega mass media. I am living outside of their business model. I am stepping off the media grid.

Already I will set aside three minutes of my week for you. And you. And you. And you. And you. Or Rocketboom or Minnesota Stories, fifteen minutes of my week. The PAN, Seventy-five.

But listen up.

Someone watching this stream from far away will start a videoblog today. Or a dozen someones. And tomorrow there will be a dozen more. And more. Again. More people in more countries in more walks of life gaining access to the means of production, the tools for creation and consumption. Access to the worldwide media conversation.

Soon thousands will become tens of thousands. Then hundreds of thousands. Then millions. All making media.

But with all these voices, all these videos, how will you possibly watch it all? How can you keep up?

The answer is: you can’t.

Already if you aggregate the media made by everyone in this room it is probably more than any one person can watch.

Soon, I predict, that as important as the makers themselves will be the recommenders. People who can let me know which episode of Chasing Windmills I should watch this week. Which DriveTime I will not want to miss. Because I will not, you will not, no one will have time to watch it all.

These are Josh’s Picks. And Ryanne’s ReVlog. “watchthis” at del.icio.us. Vlog Soup and VlogDigest and Podcast Salad.

And this might sound like a return to the old world of tastemakers and gatekeepers, but it’s not. It is the worldwide intersection of social networks. I pay attention to what my friend recommends. She relies on someone else, who trusts someone neither of us knows.

YouTube understands these things. MySpace. Digg. Others are learning. Social networks are the future.

Social networks will still create their own superstars and megahits. But social networks stoke and sustain the fires deep out in the long tail. Social networks allow me to ignore what’s been rated highest, or watched the most, to focus on what my trusted friends imagine I might like.

Look around you. These people are your network. These people are your “friends.” The relationships you build and take away from here matter to the media you make.

I believe some of you will burn out this year. I believe some of you will launch new vlogs, new shows, new projects. Bigger, more ambitious, more surprising. I believe the most exciting work will come from people who are not in this room right now. Who’ve never even heard of us.

And so I find I have some things to ask of you as founding revolutionaries.
As those who to this point have helped to lead the way.

Three things I would ask you to do less of.

1. Stop making vlogs about videoblogging.

We’re here. We’re queer. Get used to it.

We don’t watch tv hosts talking about the greatness of tv. Or listen to deejays spouting off about the importance of radio.
Authors don’t use up space in their novels writing about why they love books. Your passion may be videoblogging, but find another passion to make videos about. The medium is the message all by itself.

2. Get out of the Yahoo group.

The community is far too big and getting bigger and that. is. what. we. want. But you are expending too much of your time, your fuel, your flow. Block it out. Hold onto your two cents. Make another video.

3. Stop dismissing YouTube.

Yes the videos look like crap and too much of what is there is stolen. But dig a little deeper, and you will find thousands of media makers. The break dancers and the lip synchers and the chin puppets and the diaries and the dogs on skateboards. All contributed by media makers, like you. Even the teenage girl peeling her clothes off for the camera is a media maker. What does it mean to posit she belongs here in this room? What could you say to her that she could learn from? What could she say to you that would change what you do? Plus YouTube has text posts. RSS feeds. Video comments. They’ve got it all, plus sharing and social networks to boot. It’s simple, transparent, and it works.

Three things I would ask you to do more of.

1. Make more media.

If you’re publishing a post a week, what can you do to make it two? How can you push yourself to work faster, leaner, smarter. Release yourself from the tyrannies of perfectionism and polish. Make it good enough. Put it out in the world. Move on to the next one. There is no one who can tell you you’re not ready for prime time.

Or make twice as many videos as you publish to the web. We learn from each mistake, misstep, or failed attempt. The more media we make, the faster we accelerate our own learning curves.

2. Expand the audience.

My FireAnt is full already. I won’t add you to my queue. In terms of your audience potential, I am a dead end.

So promote yourself in the offline world. Tell others what you do. Your family and coworkers. Your technophobic friends. Find people who have never heard of Rocketboom, and get them to subscribe in iTunes or through TiVo.

Pull more and more people off of the corporate media teat. Expose them to alternative forms of media to consume.

3. Show someone how.

Teach your dad to videoblog. Your nephew or your niece. Someone in your moms’ group. The neighbor up the street. It takes so little of your time to help them see the light. To reach that “aha” moment when they get it, and they cross over to where they can begin to make media for themselves.

The rest, my friends, will take care of itself.

– end –



  Eric Rice wrote @


  Steve Garfield wrote @

I second that!

  Killer B wrote @

Used in thesis blog, identityperformance.blogspot.com. Thanks Chris!!!!!!

  trine wrote @

hi, came over from killer B’s site and this is really very inspiring. manifesto!

  schlomo wrote @

Good stuff, indeed.

  Chris Ereneta wrote @

Thanks, everyone. There’s a key concept at work here: ideas travel faster in text than they do in video.

And here I was already working on a post about how searchable transcripts of online video aren’t so much the killer app of the future.

Time for me to adjust my thinking.

  Spexious » The future of video will not be in search. wrote @

[…] I even posted a transcript of a recent video I’d done that wound up being ten minutes long, because it contained a lot of ideas that I feared would go unheard by those who didn’t want to sit through a ten minute video. And sure enough, the transcript was linked to by two people within hours of my posting it. (Number of links to the original video: 0.) Additional comments followed. It’s also shown up in a Technorati search as I was looking for background for this very post. […]

  chuck wrote @

yes, this is really awesome…

this is one of those dumb comments where all i say is “yes, this is really awesome…”

  Mica wrote @


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