see the full text here from alternet - media culture
In the world's other high-profile democratization, the global democratization of media, vlogs appear to be the next stage. Whether by adding amateur video to blogs or by making video the focus, vloggers open windows into worlds, establishing direct lines of communication with content at once compelling and completely unfiltered by mainstream media.
Vlogs can be raw or edited, synched to soundtracks or featuring a narrator, but by nature, they create far more stimulating narratives than standard forms of print media. And, for the first time, this footage is becoming widely accessible for audiences throughout the world, fostering participatory journalism.
vlogs like Australia's Waveofdestruction.org received one million hits per week during the disaster from people who wanted to see firsthand accounts of the chaos wrought by tidal waves. In fact, mainstream television networks, unable to get their crews to the disaster sites, relied primarily upon the amateur videos -- shot by tourists and posted on vlogs -- for their own broadcasts.
According to Jeff Jarvis, a TV critic who blogs (and vlogs) at BuzzMachine, "Vlogging lets us online go up against our true competitors -- not news organizations and reporters but commentators, especially on TV (on Sunday morning, on Fox, on 60 Minutes). Bloggers compete with columnists; vloggers compete with pundits." By offering intimate, uncensored glimpses of peoples' personal lives that are both culturally and socially relevant, vlogs have the potential to be about so much more than punditry. Dedman concedes that blogs and vlogs cannot replace mainstream media. Instead, vlogs will become an integral part of the "back-channel conversation" that blogs have started.
This past March, Michael Verdi and Ryanne Hodson created Freevlog.org, a simple tutorial, which, according to Dedman, will be a major factor in the spread of videoblogging. With widespread access and user-friendly instructional guides for creating your own vlogs (what could be simpler than a vlog showing you how to start a vlog?), this medium has all of the ingredients to become the new voice of the people. As for distribution, Dedman also helped create FireANT, a site which downloads new vlogs and allows viewers to watch them like TV, only with the added benefit of being able to comment or e-mail the vlogger with the click of a button.
Dedman began his Yahoo vlogging group in part as a way to connect with the handful of other like-minded vloggers out there; the group now has over 800 members, with people from all over the world posting their vlogs uncensored. These vloggers, along with Congdon, Rasiej, Tobin, and now Sen. Edwards, are pushing this most democratic of media. That's how you spread democracy.