Does the name Adam Kontras ring a bell to you? Well, you have probably never heard of him, but Kontras played an important role in the history and evolution of what we now know as vlogging.
More than two decades ago, Kontras went on a cross-country move to Los Angeles to pursue his dreams of entering show business. And along the way, he would write blogs to update his friends and family about his adventures. On January 2, 2000, he penned his first blog entry, and he accompanied it with an amateur video of him and his girlfriend sneaking a cat into a hotel that has a “No Pets” policy.
Adam Kontras later reuploaded the original video on his YouTube page in 2008. The video has been credited as the first-ever vlog on the internet.
Adding a video to a blog entry now may seem mundane, but at the turn of the century two decades ago, something like that was actually groundbreaking. Well, Kontras himself did not know about it then, but he was a trailblazer. To date, Kontras still continues creating vlogs, and his YouTube channel maintains a small following.
How YouTube Shaped Vlogging
Speaking of YouTube, the video-sharing platform revolutionized how internet users consume and create videos and content overall. YouTube was launched in February 2005, and it propelled vlogging into an increased popularity.
YouTube was, of course, founded by Chad Hurley, Steve Chan and Jawed Karim, and its early success prompted Google to buy YouTube to the tune of over $1.6 billion in October 2006.
The first video on YouTube was published on April 24, 2005 by no less than its co-founder Jawed Karim. It is an 18-second clip totled “Me at the Zoo,” where Karim was explaining his surroundings. The video has so far raked in nearly 200 million views. Many people now classify this video as the first-ever vlog on YouTube.
To date, YouTube has become the most popular video-sharing site. It is now a media juggernaut that brings in billions and billions in revenue to its parent company, Alphabet.
YouTube has more than two billion monthly users around the world, and with this number come a lot of advertisers. As in…a lot of them. Businesses naturally utilize this space to attract more customers.
How Vloggers Make Money on YouTube
But it’s not only businesses that are winning in this cultural and digital shift.
YouTube’s monetization scheme has led multitudes of people to try their luck on a new career path: vlogging. Today, professional vloggers on YouTube earn mainly through ad revenue, which can generate as much as $18 per 1,000 ad views.
Of course, the amount paid depends on a variety of factors such as number of views each video receives, the number of clicks an ad gets, and the video length of the vlog or video.
This is what we call the Google Adsense income.
Some of the biggest YouTube stars have also ventured into selling their own products, and by creating these products, these vloggers are able to leverage their online presence to build a strong customer base.
So What Even Is a Vlog?
Before we delve deeper into the history of vlogging, let’s first define what a vlog is. A vlog is a portmanteau of the words “video” and “blog,” and refers to a type of blog where the medium and the content is primarily in a video format. Vlog entries can be recorded in one take or in multiple cuts.
Vlog posts have an array of categories. For one, a vlogger can talk on a particular topic such as reviewing a product. There are also the passion economy creators whose vlogs or content revolve around the things they are passionate about, all with the goal to connect with their loyal fan base. A passion economy creator can use vlogs to share their personal, professional or artistic side to their fans with the help of passion economy platforms.
Vlogs can be about anything — from travel to pranks, fashion trends, music, you name it. Almost all topics can be the subject of a vlog.
For now, there is no doubt that YouTube remains the primary host for vloggers. However, with the birth of other channels — such as passion economy platforms — vloggers, content creators and influencers now have more liberty on where they want to put their content, and how they can make money off of it.
How LonelyGirl15 Laid the Groundwork for Vlogging
In the year 2006, a teenage girl named Bree shared details of her personal life through daily vlogs.
She was a self-described dork, and she was funny and friendly. In one of her earlier videos, she coined the phrase “video blogger.” She would narrate in her videos how her life was boring and how she dealt with being home-schooled. That was the cue for many of her followers to understand that she was pretty lonely, which was probably the reason why her username was lonelygirl15.
Despite the seemingly dull nature of her videos, she became a viral sensation because of her relatability. However, it was later discovered that lonelygirl15, the internet’s first popular vlogger, was an internet hoax. Her channel was fake, and Bree was actually an actress. The whole video series was created and produced by creators based in Los Angeles.
Despite the deception that lonelygirl15 was, she actually laid the groundwork for vlogging and future content creators. She showed the digital world that stories can be made and shared from a bedroom. She showed that facing the camera all by yourself can do wonders, as long as you know how to properly get your message across.
Don’t get us wrong, we’re not promoting fakery here! What we’re saying is that there are certain techniques for you to become a vlogger, and you can learn those from lonelygirl15. Remember that vlogs are about the authenticity of the creator, because these videos are the very reason why you get to connect with your fans and loyal subscribers.
Everyone Can Be a Vlogger
The rapid spread of smartphones in the early 2010s paved the way for more people to try out vlogging. This phenomenon made it simpler for everybody to record a video and upload that video directly to the digital platforms of their choice.
What’s next for vlogging? Smartphones also gave birth to the rise of vertical videos, which are now gaining more and more prominence in the vlogging community.
As vloggers make the move from horizontal to vertical, one thing’s for sure. Vlogging will become the pivotal communication form of the masses. The question is: does the everyperson necessarily want to share their life with not only their closest friends, but also the general public?
Either way, a personal vlog is still a vlog. Who here hasn’t filmed one, even just for your own viewing pleasure?
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