Understanding the Video Bloggers’ Community

Understanding the Video Bloggers’ Community

John Warmbrodt (Consultant, USA), Hong Sheng (Missouri University of Science and Technology, USA), Richard Hall (Missouri University of Science and Technology, USA) and Jinwei Cao (University of Delaware, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1553-3.ch005
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Video blogs (or vlogs) are a new form of blogs where each post is a video. This study explores a community of video bloggers (or vloggers) by studying the community’s structure as well as the motivations and interactions of vloggers in the community. A social network analysis of a list of personal vloggers identifies the community’s structure. Open-ended interviews with core vloggers in the sample provide in-depth understanding on the motivations and interactions of the vloggers. Overall, the results indicate that the vloggers’ community exhibits a core/periphery structure. Such a community is formed based on shared interest and active interactions. In addition, the rich communication provided in video blogs allows for a more personal and intimate interaction, making vlogs a potentially powerful tool for business applications.
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Blogs are journal based web sites that typically use content management tools to allow the authors to post contents on the websites (Gordon, 2006). Video blogs (or vlogs) are blogs where each post is a video. Although a post may also include text to provide context for the video, the focus of the post is a video. The use of videos provides more freedom for video bloggers (vloggers) to express their opinions/views and interact with their viewers more directly and interactively (Miles, 2003). Vlogging also fulfills a few social needs such as being connected, finding validation for one’s experience and ideas, and being a producer as well as a consumer (Luers, 2007). Each vlogger interacts with other vloggers and together they form vloggers’ communities.

Just as the number of blogs has increased significantly in the last few years, vlogging has become increasingly popular as well. In January of 2005, Mefeedia, an online directory of vloggers, listed just 617 vlogs. As of August 2009, this number had increased to 27,782 (Mefeedia.com, 2009). As a relatively new but popular form of blogs, vlogs use rich media and allow for more direct interactions, therefore, have great potential for business applications. For example, traditional media outlet ABC News in January 2007, signed Amanda Congdon, who became popular as the host of the highly popular video blog Rocketboom, to host a video blog on ABC News (Holahan, 2006). This example illustrates that vlogs can not only serve as web based journals for everyday users, but can also be used by businesses to directly communicate with their customers or promote new products.

Despite the increasing popularity and importance of vlogs, little academic research has been done to study the vloggers’ community, or the interactions among vloggers. As the main motivation for vlogging is to socially interact with other vloggers (Luers, 2007; Miles, 2003), it is important to study the interaction in this new type of virtual community. Specifically, this paper seeks to identify and understand the structure of the vloggers’ community, the motivation and characteristics of vloggers forming the community, and the interactions within the community.

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