Yes, Jenna. There is a YouTube.

Jenna from YouTube asks the questions (in the comments from a recent post). The humble viral video genius gives the answers…

Hey Nalts, I have some questions about the history of video blogging and the history of Nalts (you).

  1. Did the guys who made YouTube intend for it to be used as a video blogging site? Chad and Stephen created YouTube in the requisite “Internet startup garage” because they saw a need for simple sharing of videos (instead of e-mailing large attachments). Vlogging came later. Those two don’t even vlog, at least publicly.
  2. Have you ever been to a YouTube gathering? Are you kidding, Jenna? Those are like Star Trek conferences. Never.
  3. What do you think are the genre antecedents to video blogging? Do you think it came out of reality TV? Actually I think it’s “anti reality TV.” People were sick of manufactured reality, and entranced by the notion of real people interacting with audiences in an almost real-time setting. The early vloggers were stars who weren’t.
  4. Can you write a post where you watch your first two videos and then your last two videos and reflect on how your style has changed and why? Wow. First time I’ve thought about that. Initially I was just posting goofy stuff with the kids like “Scary Santa.” The kinda thing that might end up on America’s Funniest Video. The second was “Gum Tree,” which was more carefully edited and still makes me smile. A bit later came “Speed Racer,” which might be worth a sequel now that the movie is coming out! My most recent video, “Rusty’s Song” was more crafted for spreading (nostalgia, cultural references, cute dog, annoying song). The most recent popular video I’ve done was a parody on Mac Air’s commercial, and it did fairly well (about 400K views on YouTube alone) for a video that was never featured. Maybe I’m trying to hard now.
  5. Where do you live? Between NYC and Philadelphia. But I’m from New Orleans and we still have a family place in Sweet Alabama.
  6. Do you use StickAm? I tried to use it but I don’t understand how to do it. I have used it, but I can’t take it except in short doses and usually when I’ve had a few drinks. It’s hard to get used to… check out my “Stickam is Crack” video and the responses for some thoughts.

P.S. In business school (Babson) we studied in Prague with some people from Millsaps College in Mississippi, where your profile says you attend. That made me laugh because there was a guy from Millsaps that used to say the name of his school with the funniest Southern accent. And one of my classmates (who died a few years later of cystic fibrosis) did a belly aching impersonation of him… “I’m doin’ some indeeepdendent reeesurch for meeeel ssshaaapps” he’d say. You hadda be there.

5 Replies to “Yes, Jenna. There is a YouTube.”

  1. Ha! I do go to Millsaps, but I am from Massachusetts so my pronunciation of my school’s name is not as impressive as that of my peers. I have a lot of friends from Alabama, which part is your family from?

    Thanks for answering my questions. I’m doing sone independent research for Millsaps too!

    I was reading last night about these things called Homecams which I am too young to remember. Apparently, people just set up cameras in their houses and had them on all the time…they didn’t talk to them, just did whatever they normally did, including sleeping, alone or otherwise. A lot of people speculate that these became popular because there was a rare chance of seeing the subject changing or having sex, which is very interesting because the audience could see that without having to wait by just going to a porn site…

    So I’m trying to think about how these cameras shifted from that style to the style people use now, where the camera is only on when they have something to say. Did you ever watch these video feeds? For the most part they weren’t pornographic at all.

    What role to you think porn plays in the explosion of viral video? When we talk about the history of video on the internet, porn has to be mentioned!

    Maybe we could meet in NYC sometime when I go North. I need to interview people for my project. DO you know any good vloggers from the South?


  2. Chad and Steve both came from PayPal, and their original intent was to actually to run a site where users would be able to host videos that would better showcase items for online auctions.

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