Blogs vs. Vlogs – Knowing Which is Better for You and Why

In that In the social media world blogs and vlogs are considered a staple for those of us seeking to provide quality and consistency in our online content.  A good series of blogs or vlogs can help build brand recognition by ‘adding value’ to the lives of online consumers.  Although the two forms of online publishing have much in common, as we seek to leverage digital media to grow influence as individuals and brands, it is important to understand which your needs are best suited to.  To that end, the following is a handy list of benefits and drawbacks for each

BLOG benefits

  • If your subject is long and drawn out, a blog allows the consumer to go at their own pace, and easily review if they missed something.
  • Blogs are far easier to skim.  Many people would rather skim and read quickly for content than sit through a 3-5 minute video including ads and cumbersome introductions. Several news organizations realized this the hard way when they attempted to do to video-only and lost a great deal of traffic to their sites.
  • It is easier to monetize and track blog traffic through click-throughs, affiliate marketing, or pushing to Fiverr.

VLOG benefits

  • Vlogs are easily sharable on most social media platforms.  Many platforms run auto previews to catch greater attention from your intended audience.
  • Vlogs are particularly amazing for people who are personable, verbally process, and are conversational.
  • Vlogs allow for imagery for subjects which are better shared visually (mechanical fixes, art etc.).

BLOG limitations

  • You need to be a good writer, including some sense of grammar, to build a product that people will consistently return to.
  • You should have some rudimentary sense of web design to make your blog ascetically pleasing and to leverage search engines.  Not all of us have this knack (for instance: my wife has final say in all my design decisions as I am deficient in this area)
  • The best blogs are consistent in their quality content, which can be quite a grind.

VLOG limitations

  • The hardware needed for vlogging is more expensive.  Once you start making videos you quickly realize how much good lighting and sound can matter even more than a camera!
Source: Creative Commons
  • You need to understand what you can show in your vlog and what you can’t.  This means keeping up with ever-changing terms of service for platforms, and understanding what your employer, or even businesses you are wishing to feature, allow to be shown.
  • It is very time consuming to edit, process, and upload quality video.

What are your needs?

Both blogging and vlogging are quality means to engage your intended audience.  Which you choose and why will depend on your own giftedness (personable, good writer), your goals (brand awareness, monetization), and the resources you have on hand (time, knowledge, equipment).  Looking around, I have noticed that many content creators start doing a little of each and then gravitate towards the one that suits them or their brand the best.  So perhaps the best way to find out is to do so yourself.

If you are a blogger or vlogger, I’d love to check out your content, and possibly feature it on my own channels.  Drop your links below!

Missing the Point: How the media scapegoats social media for society’s echo-chambers

I imagine by now we are all pretty used to it.  Every now and then another member of the media publishes a cookie cutter article which attempts to send up a balloon warning of the societal ills of “echo-chambering” with social media.  Some of these even concluding that the only answer is for third-parties to begin to filter our time-lines for us.


According to the echo-chamber critique, the algorithms used by social media companies to tailor our experiences on their platforms is creating a world in which people only read or experience news and opinion from points of view similar to their own.  Social media, so the claim goes, is the real reason we live in such a politically polarized society.  Having read my fill of this point of view, my own tendency as of late has been to look upon these articles with a certain amount us suspicion.  Although couched in terms of the public being deprived of seeing items from different points of view, it is pretty obvious from most of these pieces that what they are actually lamenting is that more people are being deprived of the author’s, or publication’s, less-than-humble point of view.  In some ways, many of the more traditional media types have yet to come to terms with the loss of their monopoly of information in the Western world.

Turning the critique around

The fact is, many people are tired of biased media accounts being crammed down their throats.  Trust in media outlets has been at an all-time low over the last half-decade among Americans.  Whether MSNBC or Fox News, the tendency of major news outlets seems to be bombast viewers with hot-takes from a particular point of view and belittle anyone who disagrees as horribly elitist or deplorably unwashed.  It is also interesting to note, that news organizations are beginning to admit freely that they feel it is their business to interpret the news for the consumer, rather then give all sides and allow the watchers to make their minds up for themselves.  It seems rather ironic that the same media outlets who are singularly pushing particular political narratives point the finger at social media for curating news and opinions based on the preferences of the consumer, and lobby for greater control of these platforms. 

Social Media – the cause or the effect??

Source: Creative Commons

I would submit that the echo-tunnel effect found in today’s social media world, while real and concerning, is not so much the creation of these platforms themselves.  Rather, this issue is a reflection of our society at large and what is needed to address the problem go deeper than forcing social media companies to change the very basis of their identities.  Luckily, some media outlets are beginning to wake-up to the fact that there are more subtle dynamics at work in the digital world.  In light of this I believe it is incumbent upon media organizations to spend more time worrying about how they are carrying out their work than they do about the actions of competing platforms such as social media.  The straw-man of traditional media can do better than simply scapegoating new forms of media.  Personally, I question whether recent attempts to create third parties to properly manage, or at the worst censor, what I see and don’t see on my timeline, are not examples of ‘doing better.’

Do you believe third party regulators should monitor and manage what you see on your timeline? I would be interested in hearing your point of view below!

Coronavirus, Fake News, and Personal Responsibility

With the outbreak of yet another big virus, more than just the illness itself has gone viral.  On my social media timelines, even otherwise intelligent people have begun to spread misinformation and fuel possible hysteria as officials rush to keep up with each new development.  So far on both Twitter and Facebook I have personally witnessed blatant racism, conspiracy theories regarding secret biological weapons, and promises of miracle cures.  In fact, many journalists are beginning to sound the alarm about this trend.[1]  Although you and I can do very little about what others post (other than link to a fact checking site), perhaps the best plan to focus on is how to keep from getting hoodwinked into sharing a bogus story ourselves.

Here are some tips on ensuring the content you share is legit…

Check for spelling mistakes or creative editing

Often messages, social media posts, or blog posts masquerading as news articles will hold small errors which can be a sign of hoax material.  Photos, audio recordings, and videos can be edited to mislead, sometimes professionally, often times not.  If you notice any sign of conspicuous errors in the material, ensure you have cross-referenced the information with trusted or verified sources.  If a story is repeated over and over in many places, it is more likely to be true.[2]

Ask: Does the post simply leverage (or overly leverage) my bias?

We all have political, religious, and social beliefs, many held very strongly.  If a person likes or detests something a great deal, they are far more likely to share it.[3]  Add a webpage which looks somewhat official and you have a message that is ripe for viral sharing.  One step to keep from being duped is to pay attention to how much a piece is leaning on an emotional response from you, the reader versus how much actual verified information is offered.

Read, mark, and understand the whole news item

Many of us are guilty of it, myself included.  In our high-paced world of fast media, it can be very tempting to gloss over news items and share without fully understanding what it says.  Some good rules of thumb are to take a good few moments to critically assess any work; verify the news item’s sources and make sure that you comprehend exactly what the authour’s message and goal is.[4]

A few other rules of thumb

If a news item is unsigned, undated, or the authour is not a specialist nor references freely available material from specialists, take a closer look.[5] Additionally, if the news item has lured you in with a misleading headline, also known as clickbait, it could be a sign that the author intends for the item to be shared based on sensation rather than reliable content.[6]

Social Media is a force in the News World

According to Pew research, more Americans get their news from social media than newspapers.[7]  Although Canada isn’t necessarily the same as the United States, this is a good indicator of how information is changing in the Western world.  Each individual now has far more power than ever before in the passage of news and opinion.  However, as the cliché goes, with that power comes a new and rising responsibility to select what we share with care.

I would be interested to know in the comments below if you have ever discovered after sharing an item that it contained fake news.

[1] De Vynck, Riley Griffin, and Alyza Sebenius, (January 2020) Coronavirus Misinformatino is Spreading All Over Social Media, Retrieved from:

[2] WhatsApp Help-file, (February 2020) Tips to help prevent the spread of rumors and fake news. Retrieved from

[3] Dubois International, (2019) Why do people share fake news? Retrieved from:

[4] Enock Pratt Library, (2020) Fake News: How to Spot it. Retrieved from:

[5] Dubois International, (2019) Why do people share fake news? Retrieved from:

[6] Enock Pratt Library, (2020) Fake News: How to Spot it. Retrieved from:

[7] Shearer, Elisa, (December, 2018) Social media outpaces print newspapers in the U.S. as a news source, Retrieved from:

Do the FTC’s Child Protection Rules Make YouTube Less Safe For Kids??

From censoring “Baby Shark” from Google searches to making it exceedingly difficult to make a living providing healthy kid-centred content, the Federal Trade Commission’s new interpretation of Federal Child Protection Law shows once again that nobody can make a mess like government can.

YouTuber’s Less Able to Make a Living Creating Children’s Content

The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) is an American federal statute first passed in 1998 that aimed to protect children from exploitation online.  While the statute was passed with the best intention, the bureaucracy at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has struggled to implement the act with clarity and consistency.[1]  In an attempt to catch up with past mistakes, the FTC has recently targeted Google’s social media platform YouTube for marketing to children.

As a result of a 2019 settlement between the FTC and Google, YouTube will no longer curate advertising for children under the age of 13 in any fashion.  Additionally, several other features which set YouTube apart as a social platform are being disabled on any content marked as targeting for kids:

-Personalized ads
-Info cards
-End screens
-Community Tab
-Notification Bell
-The ability for viewers to save videos, watch them later, or save to a playlist


As well, popular Content Creators are also already noticing that Google has started to censor “wholesome videos” altogether from searches through its popular search engine.[3]  YouTube executives readily admit that these restrictions limit the amount that Content Creators will make from their productions.  In many cases, the ability for personalities to make a living on the platform is simply disappearing.[4]

COPPA Causing Less Access to Safe Content on YouTube

Tyler “Ninja” Blevins

As part of Google’s compliance rules, YouTubers, whether US based or not, now have to decide and indicate whether their videos are designated for children or are for a mature audience.  By labeling their content as kid-safe, they are subjected to the restrictions above.  Penalties for mislabeling content could range upwards of $42,000 in fines.[5]  As a result of the new rules, many popular content creators have already started to swear and discuss mature themes in their videos in order to be considered ‘mature’ content.  For instance, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins, the most popular Fortnite content creator in the world, made the change away from the intentional family-friendliness which was a central hallmark of his personal brand.  Other personalities are admitting that they will probably be forced to do the same.  However, as many have pointed out, even though these creators’ content are now mature, the kids are still watching them.[6]

Conversely, as the amount of existing kid-friendly channels making the switch to mature content grows, the amount of new channels creating safe media will naturally begin to plummet.  Creator phenoms such as Ninja have long admitted the only reason they started family-friendly streams and video creation was for good business.  In a bizarre turn of events, it now simply no longer makes sense financially for any new or existing creators to do the same.  The FTC’s new stance on COPPA, ostensibly to protect children, is making the internet less friendly to young-eyes.

Child Protection, or Big Media Lobbying?

Many in the social media universe are beginning to wonder if this regulatory fiasco is partially the result of the lobbying of traditional media corporations who have watched their market-share among young viewers plummet over the years.  Increasing the frustration for small creators is the fact that traditional media are not being held to the same ‘safe’ standards as those being applied to YouTubers.  As the contradictions pile up, some see a possible link between the FTC’s new regulatory stance on YouTube content and the 2019 rise of new family-centered streaming services such as Disney+.  

Kids’ Could be Less Safe Online

The decline of kid-oriented content on YouTube is leaving children watching an increasing amount their favourite personalities in unfiltered videos.  In addition, as YouTube advertising is no longer curated for young eyes, everyone is now exposed to trailers for the latest horror film or alcoholic beverage on what were formerly safe channels.  It is very hard to see how the FTC’s new interpretation of COPPA benefits children in any way.  Demonetizing content, censoring safe material from search engines, and removing all options that differentiate YouTube videos from other media seem to only advantage other forms of media, who are inexplicably not held to the same standard.

If you are located in the United States, you can still have your say by contacting the FTC , signing the petition, or contacting your local Federal Representative.

[1] Bergen, Mark, Lucas Shaw, and Ben Brody. (2020, January 20). YouTubers Are Lobbying FTC to Fight Child Privacy Law Expansion, Retrieved from

[2] Marshall, Carla. (2019, November 12). 11 Things You Need to Know About COPPA and Kid’s Content on YouTube TODAY. Retrieved from

[3] Spangler, Todd, (2019, November 2). YouTube Creators Worried and Confused Over New Kid-Video COPPA Rules, Potential Fines, Variety Magazine. Retrieved from

[4] YouTube Creators. (2019, November 12) Understanding COPPA on YouTube. Retrieved from

[5] Spangler

[6] Johnson, Jeremy. (November 2019) Petition: SAVE Family-Friendly Content on YouTube. Retrieved from