What Everyone Is Talking About Today

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- It’s time for “Saturday Night Live” to bring back “Wayne’s World.” Wayne and Garth can still tape in their basement, have gnarly mullets, talk about music and invite guests to pop, er, down. In fact, almost nothing about their setup needs to change except for their public-access cable channel. It’s now called Gawker and the only cable involved is the one connecting them to the Internet. Welcome to VlogWorld.
If Wayne and Garth were starting 'Wayne's World' today, it would be brought to you via a vlog.

On Jan. 19, the Manhattan-based media news and gossip blog Gawker (the eponymous child of Gawker Media) announced its plans to join the vlogosphere with its Guerrilla Video Project, a chance for would-be auteurs to create and submit their own fly-on-the-wall documentaries. One of its first forays into video-casting will take place this weekend at Super Bowl XL. Gawker sibling Deadspin has given A.J. Daulerio a DV cam and sent him to Detroit sans tickets to see what the die-hard vlogger can dig up.

To some, the rising accessibility of vlogging is catapulting it into the mainstream consciousness, bringing with it an onslaught of grainy, amateurish basement videos even more assaulting and distracting than blogging ever was. Forget the difficulties of vlogging from work and worry more about the millions of Mike Myers-wannabes trying to wend their way into your RSS feed.

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A December chat on Slashdot -- aptly named “Why video blogs will suck” -- loudly verbalized fears that videos for every niche will stop being cool and subversive and start being a never-ending and unfunny online version of “America’s Funniest Home Videos.” Everyone wants his or her 15 minutes of fame, so anyone with a $30 webcam and the latest version of Apple’s iLife can go live with video on the Web, send it through a cellphone or play it on a Apple video iPod. And with the current cross pollination -- i.e. NBC Universal’s Bravo and MTV Network’s VH1 bringing viral videos to TV and TV downloading shorts to the Internet like SNL’s “Lazy Sunday” -- would-be vloggers can’t be faulted for hoping they will make the leap to the larger screen.

As with blogs, however, there is every reason to believe the cream will rise to the top. Already, Rocketboom has become well-known and exemplary in the vlogosphere; it’s the Gen Y version of “Wayne’s World” -- well, except it’s a blonde chick who broadcasts blog news. At least she’s still in T-shirt garb. Rocketboom has even reached the point of soliciting via eBay custom-made advertising to be aired at the end of its daily video.

Meanwhile, from MTV comes MtvU Über, MTV’s broadband network where media-consuming Gen Yers become media-making teens by way of sharing their own video blogs. MTV keeps it balanced, of course, with its own menu of music videos, news, shows and other outlets that can be watched via live stream 24/7 or on demand and, thus, a la carte.

So, how can you dive into this world of video blogs? There’s still no search engine dedicated to vlogs, per se, but there is a spanking-new version of FireAnt, the TV Guide to video Web logs.

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