top of page
  • Raghav Sand

Vlogs: What is in it For You?

In the last decade, digital media not only made a place for itself in pop culture, but it involuntarily and effortlessly became a habit. The democratization of skill and thought has enabled every willing person to showcase their talent and make a name for themselves. The opportunity to connect with an audience through words or audio-visual means is uplifting. At the onset, all that a person needs is internet and an internet-enabled device; the rest is up to their imagination.

Who decides what is meaningful content? Or what is the definition of meaningful content? These easy looking questions do not have straightforward answers because what is worthwhile for someone, may be insignificant for others. In short, this is a subjective topic. Freedom is not a luxury, it is essential. As a civilized society, we should not tutor others about the dos and don’ts of everything, while there should be rational moderation of content at both the individual and societal level. After all, just like the food we eat affects our health, we are what we watch or vice versa.

Every month more than a billion (100 crores) people visit YouTube to watch videos. Occasionally, those billion people watch the same video. Some videos trend within the country of the publisher, while some find regional audiences. Others spread across borders of language, culture, and nation to reach a global audience. People tend to invest time and energy in futile content for the sake of fear of missing out (FOMO). A journey on the slope of this metaphorical rabbit hole can leave you feeling exhausted.

The Good Stuff

Digital media is godsend. Whenever something gains traction among people, sooner than later the good, the bad and the ugly make a place for themselves. This is where choice and decision making come in to the picture. If digital media gives people a chance to express themselves, it simultaneously gives the seekers a chance to learn and get entertained. Access to facts makes us more aware about the world we live in and aids in better decision making. By erasing geographical barriers, digital media has created a level playing field.

Anyone who wishes to upskill can do so with the plethora of free content available across a variety of devices. Steadily, the digital media penetration graph is scaling upwards, but a lot more can be done by all the stakeholders. We don’t need to equip every disadvantaged person with the most high-tech devices; basic devices will suffice. Thankfully, not everyone is chasing processor clock speed or megapixels.

As per Adobe Inc. vlog is “short for a video blog or video log, a vlog is a blog in video form. Think of it as your own little TV show or channel, only it’s on the web, produced by you, and presumably starring you”. Try visiting the ‘trending’ section of YouTube, and you will find vloggers looking for your attention. The internet is a wonderful place to learn something new or get attention from others for a variety of reasons. Please take couple of deep breaths before moving ahead with the article. What I am about to say may feel intrusive, but read till the end before labelling me with an adjective.

Vlog Without a Log

Why are you spending so much time on YouTube, Facebook Watch, Instagram TV (IGTV) or other similar services? Is it because of spare time or are you making time for consuming audio-visual content? People whom I talk to or observe, don’t seem to have the time to do certain activities. Have you wondered why you feel short of time for necessary things? Let us take one more deep breath. Is it because you are watching (an exorbitant amount) pointless audio-visual content on your preferred platform or platforms? For the sake of impact, I wish to reiterate that digital media is godsend.

Like any other blessing, if we do not make good use of this medium, it can turn into a curse before even us realising it. In the last year or so, we have become more health conscious than we were ever before. Is it because of the pandemic? Videos about how to play a musical instrument (or any other skill) or learning how to exercise will create an opportunity for you to become a better version of yourself. There are videos which can help you become a better driver or make better sense of a spreadsheet. Any other audio-visual content that makes you better at life skills will either help you instantly or in the years to come.

You Are Not Just a Brick in the Wall!

After all these facts on the table, do you really need to watch what some random person did in the last twenty-four hours? Ask yourself a simple question: am I doing justice to available resources? Time is the most important resource. We all have the same hours in a day. And, if you feel, you lack other worldly resources to survive or thrive, please take a moment to realise the injustice you are doing to your potential. Some of you may not be draining resources by watching other people’s personal vlogs. If possible, try to help someone you know who is sliding down the slippery slope of nothingness. Sometimes all we need is prod from a dear one to change the course of our life.

As always, few of you may feel like, what is all the noise about watching a vlog or vlogs during the day. Numbers are not meaningless digits when they accumulate. Say you spend 45-60 mins (an average person spends five hours and 16 minutes per day) daily watching videos on the internet. You know that some vlogs have no substance whatsoever. And, as you may have noticed by now, the algorithm keeps suggesting similar content. The ‘you may also like’ playlist appears on the screen and once again involuntarily, your watch time piles up. One more day of purposeful possibilities perishes without even you realising it. When social media companies talk about digital well-being, it is the pinnacle of hypocrisy and bespoke deception. Has any for-profit venture ever sold less of something even after knowing the harmful effects of their products or services? All hail woke capitalism.

If someone asks you what was the highlight of your day, you may not have an answer, or even worse, you may get irritated with that person. When a family member or friend enquires about your daily activities, they are not being unreasonable. If you have someone who takes out the time and makes an effort to give constructive feedback, please accept it as a blessing.

As we all know, writing an article is one-way communication. Hence, while writing about any subject, I have always tried to maintain a balance between all the possible viewpoints. Whenever I talk about topics that involve personal judgement, I tread cautiously after fully understanding its sensitive nature. Without trying to become moral and cultural police, I suggest you to invest resources more judiciously. Nation-building is not an ornamental word that has been reserved for textbooks, op-ed articles, or national day speeches. All of us have a responsibility to do our bit in making our country prosperous. We cannot outsource the future of our nation to a select group of individuals who may or may not be fit for the job. Some politicians and bureaucrats make it to the top by default because they didn’t have any competition. A nation cannot wait for someone better to come and improve its future prospects. It has to work with whoever is willing.

Watching (meaningless) personal vlogs hinders nation-building!? I know, you may be thinking all this sounds a bit dramatic and has all the features of overthink. But it is not. We have been confined indoors for more than a year due to lockdowns imposed to contain the spread of Covid-19 virus. During this time, social and digital media have helped to fill the void of human interaction. Video calls and entertainment content have been crucial to maintain our sanity. You, the person reading this article, are as essential as anyone else in the country. Why do you think some of your peers are coping better? It is because they have made the best possible use of their resources and are doing so even today.

We are all different yet similar in more ways than we can ever comprehend. Every citizen’s time is a national resource, just like the internet data which can be diverted to more fruitful pursuits. Human ingenuity solves problems and creates convenience. A person who has access to internet can transform their own life and the lives of people around them. To this day, millions of keen individuals do not have access to the internet or internet-enabled devices. If the select few who have access to digital media squander the opportunity, then how can we realise the true potential of the wonderful medium of communication network known to all of us as the internet?

Do you feel like the journey of your life is going in the wrong direction because of paying attention to unnecessary things? Believe me, there is no such thing as one-way traffic in real life. If you are willing to drive in the right direction, look for the next exit or U-turn and slowly reverse the direction of your life. Choose what is right for you and persist with it. One step at a time.

bottom of page