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videoblogging in europe

Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 11 months ago

Rupert Howe: Twittervlog.tv


I personally don't think that there's a lack of entrepreneurship in

Europe - that's an American myth, one adopted by greedy European

businessmen and politicians to break down regulation, worker's rights,

the power of the unions and the welfare state.


Just as many businesses start and fail in Europe as in America. The

world's second biggest retailer after Walmart: Carrefour.


Americans crowed about having the most productive workers in the world

in terms of dollars earned per worker. They conveniently ignored that

the next 4 most productive were France, Ireland, Belgium and Luxembourg.


So I don't think we need to learn any lessons about exporting our

culture, thanks very much. It's America's proselytising zeal to

export its values that's led to the trouble in Iraq, while they

preside over a massive financial crisis and a disgraceful wealth gap.




I don't want to be too facile about it, but it seems to me that the

problem is primarily that of language and national borders and

attitudes to privacy and change and technology. Pretty basic issues.


Not so much to do with the Germans' reluctance to fill Berlin with

posters of Hitler.


English-speaking North America is a vast place, with 300m+ people, who

share a lot of values and experiences. People on the Pacific coast

can make a videoblog that will be watched and understood easily and

with excitement by someone in the East, South, Midwest, Southwest,

Hawaii, Alaska and Canada.


The equivalent amount of land in Europe is divided up into many

smaller countries, with many many different languages.


Therefore most people in Europe who consume online video from other

parts of Europe or America would have to understand it through the

prism of a second language, and in a slightly different culture.


People just don't have the same massive audience to reach so easily.


Add to that the difference between Europeans' approach to Technology -

they tend to be proud of their centuries-old heritage and look at

change with some suspicion - and Americans, who embrace change more

readily and look to Technology to some degree as their society's saviour.


Then add in the way that people communicate casually with each other.

America is the land of the friendly greeting. Europeans visiting

America (particularly English people) often complain about how

overfriendly they are, how fake their show of warmth. I get fed up

with hearing Brits complain about the insincerity of American and

Canadian waitresses and shopstaff. Personally, I like it. But then I

also like videoblogging.


We are generally more reserved by nature than Americans, and less used

to the idea of conversing in an intimate way with strangers.


Combine those attitudes towards technology and towards minding your

own business, and you have a mixture that's poisonous to

videoblogging. Most people that I talk to in England think that

videobloggers must be a) narcissists b) sad and lonely c) geeks d)

boring. They assume that videoblogging is someone talking to their

webcam about their day, like they're writing in a diary.


It's not just videoblogging - people think the same things of text

blogs and bloggers, too.


That's why I don't think videoblogging is a particularly helpful term

in Britain. It doesn't describe the vast breadth of what's being made.


But even when people see what's being done, they still don't get it.


I just had a long email exchange with a friend of mine in charge of

web video production at the BBC, in which I forwarded him links to all

my favourite vloggers/online filmmakers. He's a person who's trying

desperately to understand what is new and different about web video.


He could barely contain his contempt for the personal nature of 99% of

the videos. He saw them as small minded and, I sensed, narcissistic.

Not dealing with Big Truths, he thought.


He was wrong. But although this is partly a TV professional's

viewpoint, it's also partly just a common British prejudice against

anyone who's willing to talk about themselves, let alone record and

broadcast it.


American media might be broken, but our whole method of communicating

with each other is broken by language, national barriers and suspicion.


I don't know what to do about it.


But showing lots of films and showcasing the best work would be a good


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