It is highly relatable to talk about the topic at hand since the world is moving towards being virtual right now. “Virtual” as defined by the Oxford dictionary means ‘computing not physically existing as such but made by software to appear to do so’. It is something like our virtual library where the collection of the oldest to the newest books, texts, visuals, audio material etcetera are stored digitally and can be accessed easily with the use of network which in this case, is the Internet. The virtuality of the library is certainly a shift from the old ways of visiting the library to have access to the desired manuscripts.
But mind you I am not trying to talk about the virtual digital library. The nature of the virtuality serves as a gist or rather a preamble to what I am actually going to discuss.
This article aims to review the new way of sharing traditional travel diaries through video blogging.
Traditionally, travel diaries are written by hand in a notebook on daily experiences during vacations. The writing is fully at the writers discretion and meant solely for the writers personal viewing.
But, somewhere in 2005, travel diaries were shared in blogs for other netizens to view and allowing them to post comments based on the what the blogger have written about their travel experiences. The bloggers writes in every detail and it takes time for the viewers to read.
Video blogging (vlogging) on the other hand is rather the extension of what blogging is all about. Only that it is much simpler and requires lesser time from the viewers. As the current hype of the social media industry, youngsters from around the world particularly the generation Y finds the vlogging suits their personality. Through video, they are able to express their opinions freely amongst people who think alike and accepting of others’ views (mostly).
There are many travel vloggers out there but the most notable travel vloggers which I have subscribed to and have become a regular viewer since 2014 are FunforLouis, Mr Ben Brown and Casey Neistat. These vloggers does daily vlogs and shares their day to day experiences about travel and tourism. The diﬀerence between a daily vlogger to a normal vlogger , is that the shooting, editing and uploading of the video is completed everyday as oppose to the normal ones which is uploaded perhaps every alternate days, once in a week or whenever the travel aﬀair takes place. YouTube is the favoured platform used by them to share their videos since it is most frequented by netizens.
FunForLouis is in a constant mission to travel to various destination in an attempt to seek ‘adventure’. His travel interest cultivated since he traveled with his family to Malaysia when he was 12. Then at the age of 17 he started his first road trip adventure to Paris with his friend and made a video of the journey. But, it is really in 2012 that he went out and about vlogging his travel experience for the whole world to share together with him. What is interesting about the video blogging is that he gives a fresh look on the places that he visited . The exploration albeit by himself or together with his friends shared the do’s and don’ts as tourists, engaging with the locals which most of the time escapes the mainstream tourist attractions. In some of his videos he will address some questions to the viewers and they will reply in the comment link below. To distinguish himself from the rest, he adopted new technology in some of his videos. Viewers are able to view the place in a 360 angle. You could scroll up to look at the sky or look down at his shoes, as if you are there with him.
MrBenBrown a friend of FunForLouis was encouraged by him to become a daily vlogger . Seeing that he acquired a sharp eye in video making, BenBrown whom once a professional kayaker and have won series of world championship competitions now became one the most viewed travel vlogger on YouTube. His travel videos touches on vlogging camera equipments, collaboration projects with other YouTubers, healthy living, surfing, sports and his homegrown brand -Visual Vibes.
Another outstanding daily video blogger is Casey Neistat. At the age of 17 years old, he was a father and a husband. Being a street smart, he soon discovered that he has a passion in video making and actually maximised his credit card just to purchase a video camera. A debt followed with a divorce, he persevered with his video making which ultimately landed him and his brother a show : The Neistat Brothers in HBO. He also made advertisement videos for Nike and Mercedes Benz. However, the turn to daily vlogging happened about a year ago when he realised his daily videos on Snapchat should be preserved and be uploaded into YouTube. Casey has a knack for modifying goods, adventure and business travels and even travel to give motivational talks about him as a vlogger. Currently, he co- shares a new application called BEME. Slightly diﬀerent from the existing social media, videos on BEME is shared in its raw format to maintain its genuine content.
Technically, the said video bloggers creates an impact as a tourist information providers for the virtual tourist communities ( Schamallegger and Carson, 2008). Certainly, they fabricate credibility as consumers whose opinions are more believable and has higher quality in giving advices and direct experiences. Their words may influence how others perceive a certain destination either positively or negatively. A lot of the travel video blogging belongs to the C2C category. It shows that trust is higher in a social media environment, specifically from a personal perspective rather than an institutionalise promotion of products and services.
Another important aspect that derives from these vlogs is the assimilation of new technology in travel and tourism. Now people are able to connect to a place virtually through the use of up to date video apps and filming tools such as drones, 360 gear, high definition (HD) small cameras like go pro with the aim to gain larger audience.
To conclude, travel diaries definitely evolved from being personal to being shared with a large audience. Before, imagination and experience is limited to an empty page but video blogging is a whole new sphere. People are able to travel digitally now.
Perhaps what we can learn from them is to just take the plunge and experience what’s new and suitable to engage our learners in a ‘real’ and a ‘shared’ way.
But no matter what, as said by FunForLouis:
“Peace out, Enjoy Life and Live the Adventure…Boom! “ (fist bump).
WRITTEN BY : ZULAIKA ZAKARIAH