October 30, 2006 Program Summary

“Introduction to Videoblogging”

Starting a video "take" Our October 30th speaker, Stephanie Bryant, author of the recently published “Videoblogging for Dummies,” presented an overview of a powerful communication medium that combines video and Web logs (blogs).

Similar to blogs, the entries on a videoblog (or vlog) typically appear in reverse chronological order and often include embedded video or a video link with supporting text, images, and other metadata.

According to Wikipedia.org, videoblogging saw a strong increase in popularity beginning in 2005. The growing interest in videologs can be attributed to several factors, such as the release of a new generation of iPods capable of playing video files and the introduction of video into the iTunes Store.

The popularity of all types of Internet-based video also grew significantly in this same period, as evidenced by the increase of Internet traffic to sites such as YouTube.com. Since late 2005, vlogs have become a significant addition to online interactive venues.

What does this mean to you as an educator, professional communicator, or hobbyist? You now have more ways to disseminate ideas and information to your students, colleagues, clients, customers, or peers.

Have you ever felt the urge to share the entertaining and insightful things that happen in your everyday world? Got a message you'd like to get across to others? A cause you want people to support? A videoblog allows you to share whatever you choose in a colorful, interesting way that gets attention — and furthermore, videoblogging is fun! The presentation covered:
  • Subscribing to and watching videoblogs
  • Setting up and posting a videoblog
  • Planning a videoblog strategy to meet professional goals

To learn more, read Stephanie's article, below.

“Videoblogging and Screencasting”
by Stephanie Bryant

Signing a contract

Videoblogging can be a powerful tool for educating end-users, clients, and students. As a medium, video over the Internet has finally come into its own, but many technical communicators don’t know how to use this powerful technology, and often relegate it to the realm of social networking sites.

At its core, videoblogging (also called video podcasting or vlogging) is the process of posting videos to the Internet, which can be subscribed to and viewed away from your web page, by your viewers.

The key technologies needed to produce a videoblog are:

  • Video editing software and equipment. These days, a modern computer and digital camera will do the trick.
  • Web and video hosting services. Free services abound on the Internet, including YouTube.
  • A blog. Again, this can be obtained for free.
  • An enclosure-enabled RSS feed. Free through Feedburner, this is the core piece of technology that allows your viewers to subscribe to your videos.
  • For technology education blogs, it’s also crucial to have a screen capture program, such as TechSmith’s Camtasia.

What can you do with a videoblog?

You can entertain, inform, send out a personal message, keep a video diary, produce short videos in an artistic genre, promote a product, service, or cause, or educate an audience about a particular topic.

Good planning goes a long way in having a superior videoblog. Decide early on if you want to accommodate all users regardless of platform, or if you want people to be able to watch your videoblog on iPods (unless you want to make multiple videos, these two noble objectives are incompatible).

Figure out how much time you have available, and what equipment you already have. Recruit any crew or talent you plan to use in your vlog early on. Resource gaps can generally be filled using money, but many people already have some of the tools needed for a vlog. Use them.

Some great videoblogging tips:

  • Use humor. The most popular vlogs are Ze Frank, Rocketboom, and Ask a Ninja. Ze and Ask a Ninja are funny, and Amanda Congde was funny on Rocketboom.
  • Keep your vlogs short. 10 minutes is too long. There’s no such thing as too short unless you lose the message.
  • Avoid cluttered backgrounds and clothing.
  • Invest in a good microphone. Our ears are more discriminating than our eyes.
  • Invest in a small tripod or clamp-pod to prevent shake.
  • Use large subtitles to spell out names and URLs.
  • Use your editing software to clip out the “ums” and “ahs.”
  • Take risks. Videoblog viewers are very forgiving of low production values if the video is innovative.
Above all, you should seek out your passion and videoblog about it. Passionate videobloggers make good vlogs, and lack of enthusiasm kills videoblogs faster than a hard drive dying.

©2007 Stephanie Bryant

Presentation downloads:




  • Videoblogging for Dummies, Stephanie Bryant
  • Videoblogging Secrets, Michael Verdi and Ryanne Hodson
  • Videoblogging, Jay Dedman
  • Books on blogging, podcasting, and digital video are also related

SLO STC Supplemental Information:

A 90-minute video on videoblogging by Mike Stewart. Primarily speaking about developing vlogs for marketing purposes, Stewart gives a step-by-step demonstration of how to create audioblogs and videoblogs.

Introducton to Videoblogging
Date: Monday evening, October 30, 2006

Stephanie Cottrell Bryant has been a technical writer and book author for 10 years, covering semiconductors to HTML and graphic design. She writes hardware and software documentation ranging from end-user manuals to APIs, and has written several books on Internet and graphic arts technologies. She's also been a teacher, an amusement park worker, and a web designer.

Stephanie is the author of a new book, Videoblogging for Dummies,” and maintains a Web site for the book with extra tips and suggestions, as well as a videoblog for readers, at http://www.mortaine.com/vlogdummies/.


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