Daily Travel Vloggers and YouTube. Passion or Poison?

Daily Travel Vloggers. If you subscribe to them on YouTube, the odds are you assume they have a perfect life. Travelling the world, working with prestigious brands, staying in luxurious destinations and rubbing shoulders with some of the YouTube and celebrity elite. As a subscriber, you are drawn into their world. Every. Day. Of. Their. Life. You become their friend, you turn on your notifications, you follow them on Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat so you don’t miss a thing, and you feel a part of their life…. until they quit.

Travel and daily vlog revolutionary, Casey Neistat, accumulated nearly 7million subscribers on his YouTube channel, known for his unique editing, risk taking and general not giving a f*ck attitude. When Casey quit, the internet lost its mind and I lost a friend. This was the loss and spark that ignited my curiosity about the reality of vlogging and YouTube. To question, challenge and rethink the perceived perfection of this world, and shatter it with the untold, unedited, unscripted and unpaid story.

Success is predicated on the intensely personal. You still have to pump out a video every day, and it has to feel intimate. You could afford to hire a crew to come document your life, sure, but fans expect you to be holding the camera, sharing your secrets, and opening up every facet of your life. (Popper, 2016)

My goal is to create an educational and informative website along with a mini documentary. A ‘go to’ for all things vlog, travel and YouTube related. A critical eye on the industry and to provoke people to question, challenge and consume with intention and thought. My goal is to create a new research piece every other week, focusing on various aspects of the daily travel vlogging world…

  1. Vlogging, capturing daily life and our sense of self
  2. Technology, cameras & gear (including 360 video)
  3. Sponsored content
  4. YouTube, traditional media and online content
  5. Travel & Tourism
  6. Quitting YouTube – the future of vlogging


Obviously in this early stage, much more research and critical thinking needs to go into how I’m going to approach these areas and then present them. Given the lack of research in this field, it may be difficult but it just means I may need to undertake some of my own research and content analysis. But to get us started, let me present Louis Cole aka. Fun For Louis.

In August 2016, Louis travelled to North Korea where he was escorted around the country side with his tour group. This vlog series received extremely critical feedback, including news networks accusing him of being paid by the North Korean government to create positive propaganda (Butterly, 2016).

“I am not an investigative journalist. I don’t really do political commentary and there are other places on the internet you can go to find those kinds of things.” Louis Cole

Whilst watching his vlogs you can appreciate his enthusiasm to showcase a bright and positive side to North Korea – one that is not often the narrative. However as Adam Liptak states ‘travel is inherently a political exercise’ (Liptak, 2016). How much doest this travel influencer, influence, shape or potentially manipulate our ideas of other nations, their people and international relations?

There’s also many questions to address about the platform itself. YouTube, and YouTubers are feared among the traditional media industry as they are a direct threat to their survival in this highly competitive environment. ‘Free online video, especially YouTube, is a vital channel for millennials; nearly half of them (46%) use YouTube every day versus 12% of non-millennial’ (L.E.K Consulting, 2016). The viewing habits of consumers (or should I say their valued audience or family) tell us that people want to be able to access content in an instant, easily and freely. And as explored in the Journal of Marketing and Competitiveness, users are engaging in this content because it’s entertaining and authentic.

“User generated content producers, bloggers and other amateur journalists are creating news content, and people who have been made subjects of news articles are responding online, posting supplementary information to provide comments, context, and counterpoints. Increasingly, the public is turning to online sources for information and consumption matters, such as bloggers, user reviews, and tweeters, reflecting the growing trust in alternative media; and, to user generated content produced by the mass media for entertainment purposes” (Mohr, 2014)

Screenshot 2017-03-20 17.49.01.png
A snapshot of Fun For Louis’ ‘perfect’ Instagram Page

This topic embodies the dilemmas and challenges we face when examining cybercultures. ‘Tensions between representations and reality.’ I’m excited to explore our sense of self, physical location, virtual reality, technology, tourism, sponsored content and ultimately answer if any of this really matters?


Butterly, A 2016, ‘Vlogger Louis Cole denies North Korea paid for his trip’, BBC, 18 August, viewed 18 March 2017, http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/37114758/vlogger-louis-cole-denies-north-korea-paid-for-videos-of-his-trip

L.E.K Consulting, 2016 ‘Life-Stage Analysis of Millennials highlights major threat to traditional TV’,  L.E.K Consulting,  13 January, viewed 18 March 2017, http://www.lek.com/press-releases/life-stage-analysis-millennials-highlights-major-threat-traditional-tv

Liptak, A 2016, ‘You can’t vlog in North Korea and call it apolitical’, The Verge, 19 August 2016, viewed 18 March 2017, http://www.theverge.com/2016/8/19/12543958/louis-cole-north-korea-vlogger-youtube

Mohr, I 2014, ‘Going Viral: An Analysis of YouTube Videos’, Journal Of Marketing Development & Competitiveness, Vol. 8, No.3, pp. 43-48, Business Source Complete, viewed 20 March 2017

Popper, B 2016, ‘Why YouTube’s biggest stars keep quitting’, The Verge, 29 November, viewed 18 March 2017, http://www.theverge.com/2016/11/29/13776894/pewdiepie-quit-casey-neistat-vlog-youtube-vloggers


The Future Of Vlogging: NEISTAT QUITS THE VLOG

On November 19, iconic daily vlogger Casey Neistat announced the retirement of his vlog. At first I was in disbelief. I thought it was just another clickbait video, and after 2 minutes in, I’d realise he was joking and we’d all go back to our lives knowing that Casey was out there on his boosted board capturing his day for us to see. But after watching the death of his vlog (video below), questions began to surface that I’d been thinking about for a long time, but the biggest

What is the future of Daily Vlogging?

After attending Buffer Festival, I was inspired by vloggers and YouTubers that I’d seen on my screen most mornings of this year. ‘Inspired, motivated, living life to the fullest, experience, risk and dedication’ were all words you could associate with that weekend. And nothing will ever take away from how amazing that experience was.

But I couldn’t help but wonder… how sustainable is vlogging, in particular, daily vlogging? When do they get to put their cameras down? How do they relax? What’s unique? Has this story been told before? What’s the point? What’s the goal? What if everyone starts daily vlogging, will it ever be interesting?

All of these thoughts had been circulating through my mind for a few weeks. I’ve had lengthy discussions with a lot of my friends about vlogging and where the line is between the fragile relationship of work/life, public/private, content/creativity. And then Casey made his announcement… So this post is about my thoughts of the future of daily vlogging. These are some of my questions and concerns for the people , the vloggers, out idols, who capture their daily lives, edit and post it online for the world to see.

Ben Brown, one of my favourite vloggers, vlogging away. Source


As Casey states, ‘are you really going to be vlogging your life into your 40’s?’ He responds with a definite no. Not discrediting middle-aged vloggers, I think their voices are incredibly value. But how long are people going to keep it up? 5 years? 10 years? 30 years? As we’ve already seen from numerous vloggers, life changes and not always for the best. Relationships end and when you’ve got the entirety of that relationship documented, will they be able to deal with their life changes and be able to move on?

Daily vlogging is a full-time job, so when do they get a holiday? I know it’s a bit of a ridiculous question given that many travel vloggers are ALWAYS on holidays. But a holiday to me is disconnecting with your work life and responsibilities and enjoying time to yourself and with your friends or family.


I know that if you willingly put your life online, then a lot of people might think you’re not entitled to privacy. But let’s be honest, whether you live your life through a camera and on social media or not, everyone values, loves and desires privacy. Those little intimate moments you share with someone you love, do they just need to accept that those intimate moments also include millions of subscribers?

Alfie vlogging away. Source


The more vloggers I seem to watch, who are a part of the ‘vlogger elite,‘ the more I come to realise how similar they are. Many of them travel together, shoot with similar cameras, travel to similar places, use similar shots, music and edits… more or less, many vlogs are exactly the same! Just replace the person holding the camera with your favourite personality and you’ve got a new vlog.

The video below is a recent favourite of mine. He touches on how vlogging, particularly Casey, has inspired people to be creating, but not necessarily creative.


So I don’t believe vlogging is dead. AT ALL. Vlogging is an extremely revolutionary medium and YouTube is a powerful platform, that should be respected and understood. YouTubers are influential and can encourage, inspire, educate, motivate and connect with people all across the globe. And I particularly think that travel vloggers have a very important responsibility of educating people of other cultures, countries and ways of life. So here are some possible outcomes and solutions for the future of daily vlogging.

Move from daily to weekly

I think that by moving from daily vlogging to weekly or at least every other day would improve the quality of the content, and the quality of the vloggers life. No more late nights up editing and filming every single day.

Diversifying voices

I know that YouTube is a platform that gives everyone a voice and that it’s definitely partially my fault for not looking hard enough… but I seem to be seeing the same type of personality daily vlogging. White, males from America, the UK or Australia. And whilst they create amazing content, I haven’t yet stumbled across daily vloggers from other parts of the world with a diversity. Women, people of colour, disabilities… I think I would be ten times more engaged if I was seeing the same type of content (travel) produced by these voices. On that note, if you have any recommendations for YouTubers with a unique and diverse voice – let me know!

Meaningful Content

I recently stumbled across JacksGap channel and I’m in absolute awe. They’re using their creative talent to produce quality content, with an important message (you can see the video below). I think this is where the future of vlogging and YouTube is going (well, at least the next phase). Short, quality videos that entwine a ‘vlogging’ style with traditional ‘documentary’ style. Just check out Ben Brown and Steve Booker’s collaboration with the BBC for their mini-series ‘Mission Selfie.’ 

Vlogging is not dead. Casey is going to go on to do bigger and better things. And I think eventually, other YouTubers will come to the same realisation and conclusion.