Fear for vlogging

Recent events

Now that’s funny.

I made this video some time ago after I had received some feedback. The main message was: make shorter videos. Not spectacular feedback. But to me, and because of the effort it took to make videos at all, it set me thinking and it stopped me dead in my tracks. I had heard more often of course that people only watch 1 minute of video, but still; seeing all the vlogs and videos which are 10 to 20 minutes long, short videos just wasn’t a priority for me until then. I was trying to tackle the host of other skills and things you need to master when learning to vlog. Talking in front of the camera for one, coming across more vivid and entertaining, editing it all, finding the story in what I tell.

After this feedback I dove into my statistics to see what my viewers were doing. Because, I’m not the type of person that will just take you for your word. I want data to support the statement. But the data confirmed the statement: people watch for only a minute or so. Making long videos is harder and takes more time than making short videos. So after seeing this, I decided to make shorter movies. I now aim for 2 to 3 minutes. But making such short movies with a message is actually quite hard. I still often end up with a longer movie than originally intended.

Back to where it started

The feedback I had received had awakened in me a little spark of fear and doubt. That’s why I decided to make a video about a topic which I thought I would’ve made much earlier in my vlogging career, namely as the first or second vlog.

Starting to vlog is really scarry.  I really needed to get over a threshold of fear. What if people will hate me? What if it explodes and I no longer have privacy? But I’m also not the kind of person who wants to be stopped by anything. Least of all fear. So I’m glad that despite all my doubts I justed started. And slowly, while vlogging, the fear ebbed away. Doubts still surface from time to time. Especially after I get feedback. But well, let’s just say those are good moments to reflect on what I’m actually doing.


Another funny thing about this video. It looks like nobody wants to watch a vlog on fear. because this is the only vlog I have until now which 10 weeks later still had zero views. I find that funny because I think all new vloggers need to tackle their fears. But also, non-vloggers often respond to vloggers from their own fear.

My name is Cheryl. I’m Learning to vlog for Rural Web Africa
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Earning money on youtube

The big question everybody’s quick to ask is: will you be making money with your youtube channel?

Of course I had the same question and in the past months I regularly looked into this. And although I cannot rule out the possibility that I will make money with my vlog in a far future, for now that is more a dream than anything that will happen very soon.

Youtube has put up some thresholds for monetising channels. But even without that, you need thousands of viewers just to earn a few bucks. There are much easier and less time-consuming ways to make money. Like having a regular job.

There are lots of articles and videos about how to make money on youtube. And it is fascinating to read and watch all that. But I also fet filled with dread when thinking of what it takes to get there.

For now it is just not for me. As a starting youtuber your main concern should be making clips that you love, and building a community around your self. For me that means interacting with my followers and having meaningful conversations. Heck, I actually have much bigger goals with my channel than just to make money. It’s a social experiment. I want to change the world and I need a community to achieve that. If I would make money it would need to go back into the community.

My name is Cheryl. I’m Learning to vlog for Rural Web Africa
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Vlog vs. video

I’m not sure what to call non-vlog video, so I’ll just call it video. But I’d like to write a small piece about vlog vs. video. Because I notice that a lot of people around me expect me to make video. While I really want to vlog. I want to record the things I do. I want to take you along and show you what I come across. I don’t want to work from script, because I don’t think it will become more natural and certainly not more authentic if I do. However, that I want to vlog does not mean I don’t want to make other videos as well. But I’m pretty sure I could never make a fully scripted video every week. Whereas a vlog, especially a raw vlog – really is manageable for me.

Below are two videos. The lower one is the making of for the upper one. Personally, I just don’t really like these heavily scripted videos. It just doesn’t feel alive to me. Making vlogs, I also try to avoid having to say things twice. The first recording is often the better one anyway. I just cut out all the uhms, hesitations and plain errors. With this Seepcat video however, we made endless recordings of the same story until we had the shot in one take.

I’m starting to hear noises that vlogging is not a good idea for most youtube channels, because vlogs do not result in as high follower’s growth rates as other formats. Viewers like consistency. Not only time-wise, but in every immaginable aspect. Nobody likes change, and vlogs are probably hard to make in a very consistent way. So if you want to grow rapidly, don’t make vlogs. Instead, go for entirely designed, consistent, scripted videos.

What are your thoughts? What do you prefer? Entirely scripted video, or vlogs?

My name is Cheryl. I’m Learning to vlog for Rural Web Africa
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Vlogging with Recurring Items

Because I have several goals which I would like to achieve via Rural Web, I wish to communicate on several distinct topics in parallel all the time. To be able to address all these topics in a balanced way, I thought I would use what I call “recurring items”.

The names of these items double as hashtags which you can use on any social media to join the conversation or catch the attention of our network.

The recurring items are:

  • #TellmeMonday – tell us what you’re working on or trying to achieve.
  • #TechTuesday – teach us tech
  • #RwebWednesday – post about development cooperation and community building.
  • #FeedbackFriday – talk about feedback you have (been giving) for others; tell us how you’re dealing with feedback you got or tell us what you’ve learnt (feedback to yourself)

Using our hashtags on your posts shows that you’re part of our community. It makes you easy to find and will expose your content to many. Use it on relevant content, not on everything. That way it works as a filter.

I introduced my recurring items in a series of vlogs (see above and below). Unfortunately I don’t have the time at this moment to publish four films per week. So for now all my vlogs are published on Wednesdays, but I still address thr items and use the hashtags on other social media.

I have frequently seen people asking where other vloggers got their inspiration. For me these items work really well to give me an angle to look at my life or whatever is in front of me and to imagine how I can create a story, vlog or message around it. Aspecially tell me monday and feedback friday are ideal to make short talking head videos which are focussed – bringing a single message – and both easy and quick to make.

Do you use recurring items? Which ones? Why these? Which items of other vloggers do you like to watch?

My name is Cheryl. I’m Learning to vlog for Rural Web Africa
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A Tech & Youtube Community for Africa

I am a member of two facebook communities for youtubers. I would like to start my own community however and I have finally decided how I’ll do it.

The community I wish to build is not just for youtubers. I really wish to build a community for African Techies. So African youngsters working in web development or ICT. I know that there are tech hubs sprouting up all over the continent. I’m really interested to know what these people are capable of and to work with them.

The ICT sector offers job opportunities among other things. Rural Web always was an ICT for development project. We always wanted to be connected to tech communities, but also to teach tech to non-techies.

The idea is that more advanced tech users answer questions and help out the less techie people.

Some things I can do for example is to teach how to build websites, send newsletters, use geographic information, programming with python and other languages and learn to vlog. Quite a list.

The internet is great for finding solutions to tech problems. But sometimes it’s easier to ask a friend.

I converted Rural Web’s ICT page to a Tech and youtube community for Africa on facebook.

Join us here: fb.me/Rweb.ict

And post your own tech vlogs on #TechTuesday!

My name is Cheryl. I’m Learning to vlog for Rural Web Africa
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