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

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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)

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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?

References

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

 

These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things: OCTOBER 16

This has got to have been one of the craziest months I’ve had! Literally every weekend I’ve travelled somewhere or had a major event on. The reality of living in Montreal has finally sunken in, I actually have to study (I did NOT sign up for this) and boy it’s getting cold outside! I’m so grateful for all of the incredible experiences I’ve had this month and intend to ride this wave of inspiration and happiness through til the end of the year. Donc, (probably one of my favourite French words around), here are my favourite things from October!

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The beautiful Washington D.C

U.S of A

So I started October in the land of the free (or until Donald Trump came along), in Washington D.C. It was my first time in the states! And man could you smell the patriotism. I stayed with my amazing friends that I met in La Rochelle! It was so wonderful to see them again! I miss them all already and can’t wait to see where our paths cross again. Oh and yea, I guess I saw some cool things too – you can check it out below.

Quebec City

My friend Emma and I did a day trip to Quebec City and Montmorency Falls. Unfortunately it poured rain THE ENTIRE DAY! But the falls were truly incredible. It looks like I’ll have to come back for Quebec City another day!

TORONTO with CISA

This was a pretty hectic weekend! CISA is the Concordia International Student Association and a whole bus load of us went to Toronto for the weekend to set ourselves loose on the city. We were off to a rocky start because to get there, we caught an overnight bus. I may or may not have been (nope, definitely was) drunk. Whilst I got a good sleep, we arrived at 6:30am and couldn’t check in to the hotel until 4pm. Let’s just say the struggle was real. Our little squad consisted of Emma, Tim (Aussies as well) and Elena (this gorgeous girl from California). We explored Toronto together and made it up the CN Tower, and visited the St Lawrence Food Market. The next day we also went to Niagara Falls and tasted ice wine. On the way back to Montreal we stopped in Kingston (which I later learnt was the first capital of Canada) where we had THE BEST RAMEN EVER! It was a crazy weekend but I met some truly amazing people.

BUFFER FESTIVAL

One of the best weekends I’ve had. Ever. Period! Not only did I get to meet some of my idols like Louis Cole, Ben Brown, Nicole Eddy, Tim Kellner, Raya Was Here, Steve Booker… but I was inspired beyond belief. I saw incredible performers and creators who live their lives so beautifully. They make the most of every day and try to capture the beauty of this world through a camera lens. Words really do fail me here so check out my video below.

HALLOWEEN

OK so to some of you, it may be a surprise that Australia, doesn’t really celebrate Halloween… *gasp* I know right? But, it made me even more excited to be in Montreal for Halloween! It was – again – crazy fun. My friends and I went hard. We went out Thursday, Friday and Saturday night, which meant we needed 3 different costumes. And for those of you who know me – I LOVE dressing up! It was a pretty cool experience to go to house parties, clubs and bars, walking the streets with fake blood spilling out of my mouth and just having a great time with my friends!

[By the way if you couldn’t tell, I was Wednesday from the Addams family and a dead Breakfast at Tiffany’s Audrey Hepburn]

Tunes

Kings of Leon cover Robyn’s Dancing on My Own

I’ve had this song ON REPEAT! I love K.O.L and this song just fits them sooooo perfectly!

EDEN

I’m basically just loving everything from these guys. I love listening to them when I’m writing and have a cup of tea in hand. I don’t know, I guess perfection does exist!

Vloggers & Bloggers

Well after BufferFest I went on a YouTube BINGE and found some pretty awesome creators!

dansvibes

Damn guys get onto this! I was lucky enough to meet Dan at Buffer Fest and he’s a creator from Montreal. I love his style and his personality is so genuine! He’s definitely inspired me to be more comfortable and ‘myself’ in front of the camera! You can subscribe to his channel here!

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Logal Paul

OK so you know me, I’m always a little late to the party, but now that I’m here… OMG! This guy is the epitome of entertainment. He’s probably definitely slightly very crazy. But he’s 21 years old and is carving his way in the extremely competitive world of Hollywood and damn he works hard for it. This past weekend I’ve binge watched about 15 of his videos so if you’re in need of a laugh – be sure to check this guy out.

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Reads

So this month I was on a bit of a streak with books (I’ve been actively trying to read more because damn isn’t that feeling of accomplishment amazing when you finish a book?!).

‘Modern Romance’ by Aziz Ansari.

OMG this book is way too real for anyone who has tried Tinder, waited a significant amount of time to text someone back or just caught in the delusional world of modern dating. What I love about this book is that it’s not just someone’s opinion – whilst he is absolutely hilarious! But he conducted a significant amount of research with sociologist, Eric Klinenberg. I flicked through this book in just three days and I’d highly recommend it to anyone.

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‘You Can’t Touch My Hair’ by Phoebe Robinson

This is a great page turner. It’s light hearted yet addresses very serious issues of race. As someone who has benefitted immensely from white privilege, reading this book is extremely eye opening to the every day, casual racist behaviours inflicted on people of colour. At some points I wish that she had dug deeper and really hit the nail on the head, but I guess it wasn’t meant to be one of those books. This is her experience and thoughts on black culture and it was incredibly enlightening.

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Quote

This one has really been resonating with me lately. I’m at this weird stage where I’ll be packing up and leaving this newly created life before I know it. But I feel like I haven’t exactly left my mark here yet. The friendships I’ve been lucky enough to create have meant so much to me and I’m incredibly grateful. And I guess I’ve been reflecting on past experiences (when I lived in London). Over time you forget the little details but you know how much people mean to you because that’s something truly unforgettable.

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Well…. October. DAMN! November, you better be AMAZING because you’ve got a lot to live up to!

xxx A

 

 

 

These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things: JANUARY

A new year, a new adventure and a whole heap of new things that I’m absolutely in love with. So if you’ve been as busy as I have, then you’d agree that January has been an absolute blur! But it’s been pretty damn incredible! So here are a few of my favourite things for January!

Fun For Louis

I don’t know what rock I’ve been hiding under but O M G! This guy is awesome and absolutely living the dream! I’ve nearly made it my daily ritual of watching his videos every morning for inspiration. I can’t imagine the time and effort that goes into making a travel vlog each and every day and I have sooooo much respect for him! And I love watching his vlogs about Youtube and business. It’s so interesting to learn so much about someone living the ultimate adventure!

Home Sweet Home

It was so good to get home for a weekend! And even better to enjoy some sunshine with my family!

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Soaking up some sun in beautiful Port Stephens.

Australia Day Shenanigans

What more could you ask for? A pool, beers, friends and Triple J? I had such a fantastic day getting a bit too much sun, and drinking a bit too much beer. I must admit that this year, the awareness of what Australia Day means to our First Australian people has been incredibly disturbing. It’s something that I believe needs to be addressed seriously and not just a ‘trend’ on social media. We can do so much more as a nation to improve equality between people in our nation and it’s time that it happens.

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Adventuring around the countryside

I did get a fair bit of road tripping done. I was lucky enough to borrow my family’s land cruiser for a month so I just had to take advantage of this! I made it down to Canberra, Broulee/Bateman’s Bay, out to Bowral and back up to Port Stephens.

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My awesome car for the Summer at Minamurra Rainforest
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Beautiful Broulee
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Reunited with my bestie in Canberra.
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Soaking up the sun at Bald Hill.
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Getting lost in the clouds at Tomaree Mountain, Port Stephens

21st Party

It seems to be the year for it all! And what a banger to start it all off with! One of my best friends 21st birthday parties. And with plenty more to come, the parties won’t stop there.

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Tunes

I am absolutely obsessed with this song! I’ve been listening to it on repeat and this has definitely been the sound of my January.

Flicks

So over Summer I’ve actually been studying an Australian film class at uni. And what better excuse do you have than to watch films as study?! And I decided to watch as many Australian films as possible and I came across Tracks. It’s based on a real story and it’s one of the best films I’ve seen in a long time. And if you’re interested in films about travel, adventure and self discovery – you will LOVE this film.

Blogs

Journal By Assia. A travel and lifestyle blog written by Assia. Her photos are absolutely beautiful and she frequently posts about her new favourite book or her latest weekend adventures, which makes her blog fresh and exciting. I love following her journey and always look forward to reading what she’s up to next. If you’re after some inspiration and motivation – then look no further!

Simplicity Relished.  I’ve only recently come across this blog and I’m absolutely in love. It’s all about living simply and minimalistic lifestyle. Her photos are gorgeous and with a touch of travel in there – it provides for hours of light reading.

Books

Escape From Camp 14. So I actually haven’t finished this book – I’m really close I promise! But it’s so dark, depressing and insightful that I find it difficult to pick up but impossible to put down. I don’t know much about North Korea and the camps there, so reading this personal book about what happens there is pretty confronting but extremely important to learn about.

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Quote

“If you’re dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough.”

This quote has really pushed me this month. To think and act bigger, take a risk and be daring with the decisions I make and the dreams and goals that I set. I wouldn’t say I’m scared by them, but I’m definitely taking a deep breath before attempting to tackle them! Let’s do it!

 

Well that just about sums up my January. Sorry this post is late again. As you can see I’ve had a pretty crazy month! But I’m keen for even bigger and better adventures to come my way and share them with you guys much more frequently!