Make Television

What is a Vlog? What is a Vodcast?

Everyone and their pet dog seems to be making up their own name for Internet Television. We have vlog, vodcast, vidlog, vidcast, videoblog, vodblog, video podcast, vcatch, and many many many more. Every combination of the prefixes v, vid, video, and vod with affixes log, blog, cast, and catch seems to be in use by someone. (And somehow the word podcast got in there too.) It would be nice if we could all agree on one name. But anyways....

With both the vlog and the vodcast, "v" is for video. Which may give you a sense of what this is all about; but really doesn't tell the story. The story involves going back to the origins of blogging, the web, and even the Internet itself. And while we won't go all the way back in huge amounts of detail (since doing so would make this article way too long and you probably wouldn't read it), we'll tell enough so that after reading this you'll know what they are and where these words came from. And see why they're just both Internet TV.

So let's tell the tale of vlogs and vodcasts.

In the Beginning

In the beginning there was text. That's it. No pictures; no sound; no video All the Internet had back then was just text. Now people wanted pictures, sound, and video. But they couldn't have it yet. Technology still needed to advance more.

So we had text.... But it was much plainer than you think. You didn't have colors. You couldn't make your text bold, italicized or underlined. All you had were plain old letters and a handful of symbols.

Believe it or not though, back then, times were exciting since this was all new stuff. It was a real technological marvel. But from our standards today, it all seems pretty dull.

The World Wide Web

Did you know that "Web" is short for "World Wide Web"? But nobody calls it that anymore. That's why most website addresses start with "www". ("www" is short for "world wide web".)

The thing that made the Web really popular was that viewing images was easy. On the Web, you click the link to the image, and it just shows up on the screen. Yeah, I know, that doesn't seem very impressive to you. But you wouldn't believe the type of labor people used to have to go through just to download and view an image. (I'll avoid the subject of what images people were looking at.)

Now We Have Blogs

Long story short, the web evolved and evolved, having one technological and social advancement after another, and out from this came blogs (among alot of other things). But no one called them blogs. They really didn't have a name back then. Although some people called them web journals, web diaries, and web logs. Eventually, some people started writing "web log" as "weblog". And then someone thought "weblog" was originally a combination of the words "we blog" (instead of "web log")... and started calling these things blogs.

So now we have blogs. With images and text. But no sound or video. People wanted sound and video. But they couldn't have it yet. Technology still needed to advance more.

We Want Vlogs

Now people wanted sound and video on their blogs (and on the rest of the Web), but they couldn't have it yet. All they could have was images and text.

Web users, bloggers, developers, and futurists have actually been talking and thinking about video blogging for quite a long time. There's actually a very very old and large community behind this that calls these things video blogs; but often shortens it to vlog or vidlog. (I think some of them get offended when they hear people call these things vodcasts or even worse video podcasts. I think many of them feel that these new comers are trying to take credit for all this and act like they just invented it all by themselves.)

On the Internet, No One Can Hear Your Scream

So at this point in our little story we had the Internet and the Web. We had text and we had images. But we did't really have sound or video yet.

And then, through the marvels of technology, the MP3 was born. And then we had sound.

And music on the Internet exploded. And this leads us to the next evolution in blogging.

Now We Have Audio Blogs

So now that the MP3 gave us sound, we finally had audio blogs. (This is what Apple Computer later convinced everyone to call podcasts.) Although, back then, most people simply called audio blogs just blogs. After all, we didn't give web pages a special name when they got images. So what was the point of giving blogs with audio a special name.

Broadband Internet

Did you know that broadband Internet is actually the wrong name for DSL Internet and cable Internet. ("Broadband" is actually the wrong word to use. "Broadband" means something else.) It should actually be called high throughput Internet. I guess it doesn't really roll off your tongue though.

So everyone got Broadband Internet, and now you can watch video... well almost. We can watch short little clips. (I'll avoid discussing what videos people were watching.) We still need some more technological advancements. But despite our current limitations, we were able to have our next evolutionary step in blogging.

Now We Have Vlogs

So in a pretty simple evolutionary step, once we had an easy time viewing even short videos on the Internet we had vlogging. And in fact, with a few technological tricks, we got around this limitation of only being able to watch short videos. (We can now watch full length videos too.)

Let's Call Them Podcasts

So we have text, images, sound, and video. We had audio blogs and video blogs. But while all this was happening, MP3's and Internet music were having their own technological and social evolutions.

Eventually, Apple Computer decided to make their own MP3 player called the iPod. And in an impressive feat of marketing, they convinced people to call audio blogging podcasting. Renaming audio blogging after their MP3 player. Good for Apple Computer; but they stepped on alot of people's toes when they did this (and some other stuff). Remember, audio blogging was already a very old idea. And even video blogging was already around at this time.

Let's Call Them Vodcasts

So all these newcomers now know audio blogging only as podcasting. And, at this point in our story, like those that came before them, this podcast-generation now had their eye on video.

So given that most of them knew nothing about the vlog heritage, they sought out to coin their own name for the video version of podcasting. And some of them came up with what I consider to be a very clever name: "vodcasting". ("VOD" is an initialization for "Video On Demand".)

Oh, and just a note, Apple Computer doesn't seem to like the name vodcast. Remember, they want you to use names that name things after their product -- the iPod. They want you to call it a video podcast. I think vodcast is sticking with these podcasters though. (And still, the majority of people in this game still call this video blogging.)

It's all Television

So now we know what a vlog is; and we know what a vodcast is. And we know where these names came from. But didn't we say this was all just Internet television

Although this vlog/vodcast thing may seem all new, it really isn't. It's really just an evolution of something that's been around for quite a long time. It's just the next evolution of television.

What is television‽ Television is a telecommunication system for distributing and viewing moving pictures and sound over a distance. Television didn't stop being called television when cable television started replacing terrestrial television. Television didn't stop being called television when satellite television was created. And television shouldn't stop being called television, just because it's coming from the Internet.

Oh, and by the way, eventually you'll be watching all this on your big screen TV, instead of your computer. So maybe then more people will be inclined to call this Internet TV.

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published on Monday February 6, 2006 @ 2:00AM
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Read Comments

Hector <hectormilla@gmail.com> said on Thursday February 9, 2006 @ 2:42AM:

Very good article!

interesting article, Live the Vodcast!

Far From Subtle <> said on Monday February 13, 2006 @ 10:25AM:

Podcasting Brand

I beg to differ on your point about Apple apparently convincing people to call them podcasts after their mp3 player. They just got freakin' lucky that someone came up with a buzz word that everyone thought sounded cool.

I do like your mention of the definition of television. No matter what the medium, it still is what it is.

Irish Hermit <hermit@IrishHermit.com> said on Friday May 12, 2006 @ 8:20PM:

videoblogging vs. DIY TV

Thank you for a great article. I find the whole vlogging, blogging thing a tad bit pretentious. Like you I prefer to call it "internet television".

That name includes all kinds of television on the net, professional and commercial as well as homemade. A few friends of mine started to use the term "DIY-TV" to refer to homemade, do-it-yourself, from the bottom up television.

They have a blog at diytv.blogspot.com and I have my own take at http://www.dailymotion.com/IrishHermit/video/146008.

All the best,
Tom