I haven’t uploaded a vlog since I tried about my ‘Medievalist Miriam‘ idea in May or June of last year.
I wanted to. I filmed a couple, including a room tour of my college room this year because those have been popular in the past, mainly around Newnham applicants and offer-holders who wanted to know more about the college. (Which is precisely why I started making uni videos in the first place — my Insider Cam series was something I wished existed when I was in year thirteen and looking ahead to coming to Newnham.) But depression and chronic pain got in the way of editing stuff, and my camera’s playing up so I have to record all the audio separately and keep it synced, which is way too much effort, and it’s just been… difficult.
My camera actually started doing this about six months ago, if not more, and has been a big factor in my YouTube silence. I can’t afford to replace it — I only got two years out of it before it started playing up, and I don’t even really know what the problem is. All I know is that the microphone no longer works properly and so there’s always terrible background noise, which isn’t ideal.
Plus, I live next to a building site, and my room is extremely dark even with natural light (without it, it’s ridiculous). This means that the hours when it’s light enough to vlog also coincide precisely with the hours when the builders are actively making large amounts of noise. It’s like college don’t want me making videos or something.
After this one, I can’t blame them.
Anyway, this post isn’t about the fact I haven’t made videos for half a year: it’s about the fact that I sat down to try and make one today, and failed epically. Because I’ve forgotten how to vlog.
I’ve forgotten what kind of thing is better suited to a video than a blog post, and I’ve forgotten how not to feel self-conscious with a camera pointing at me (even if it’s just a webcam, as it was on this occasion). I’ve forgotten how to pick a background and how not to look twelve years old (tips appreciated) and I’ve forgotten how to talk fast and mostly I’ve just forgotten how to be interesting.
I think also I’m more aware of the culture of ‘YouTubers’ than I used to be, but maybe that’s projecting somewhat: I used to actually watch vloggers, so I was aware of it as a thing that some people were very successful at and got money for doing, whereas I was just an amateur. Now, though, it seems like all the vloggers I used to watch are coming out with books and tours and actual careers, all built on the back of their life on YouTube. And there I am, still just as bad at making videos as I was four years ago, still with a pitiful number of subscribers and now without a camera that doesn’t work properly.
YouTube was always quite time-consuming for me, compared to blogging. I noticed that a lot of vloggers don’t also have blogs, because they enjoy the verbal aspect more than the written word, whereas I’ve always been a writer: I guess that’s why it was so easy to slip out of the habit of having to film and edit and render and upload when I could just write. But I did enjoy it, and there’s something about looking back over the past however many years of hairstyles and fashion sense in a visual form that’s more entertaining than reading my terrible blog posts from 2010.
Because those exist, as much as I’d like to forget about them, and sometimes people find them via Google searches and they come up in my stats and I’m forced to confront the fact that this stuff is and will always be on the internet for anyone to find.
Anyway, I like the visual record of me growing up that exists on YouTube, and besides, it’s a platform that gave me the opportunity to share stuff about Cambridge and Newnham that I can’t do so easily here. People want to know what it looks like; I can do that with a camera. I can’t do it so easily with words. But I guess after I fell out of love with Cambridge and had to take time out and so on, there was no longer so much of a reason to want to share it.
After thinking about this for a while, I’ve come to the conclusion I can’t just jump back in with vlogging because I feel like it. For a start, I need to assess whether I’ve actually got time and whether it’s a valuable use of that time. Assuming that it is, there’s more to think about if I want this to be vaguely worthwhile and not just a waste of everybody’s time. It’s going to require planning: what background will I have? How will I resolve my camera problems? Am I going to edit it thoroughly, or just cut it down to length and send it on its way? And then the biggest question: what will I talk about?
So this is where you come in. If you’ve got any questions for me that you think would be suited to a video rather than a blog post, please do let me know, and maybe you’ll be responsible for my long-overdue return to YouTube. Whether or not that’s a good thing is, of course, a matter of opinion.
Tips on how to solve my camera issues would also be appreciated, but since I don’t know what the problem actually is, I probably can’t give you enough information to make that possible.