Whilst blogging has become quite accepted within academia, and other media capturing, such as podcasts and filming lectures, are increasingly becoming utilised, vlogging however remains less widespread. Vlogs are a popular feature of YouTube, with individuals sharing their everyday lives with viewers. A recent vlog entitled ‘We made it (Thank You)’ by popular Youtuber Jim Chapman, about how the success of himself, and other popular Youtubers (including, his wife, and siblings) was down to the viewers made me consider the role of vlogs/ YouTube in the democratisation of the internet. Whilst its important to note that not everyone has access to the internet, the increasing preserve of smartphones and other internet ready devices means the internets reach becomes more encompassing, perhaps particularly for the younger generations of society. The availability of the internet not only as a resource, but as a means of sharing aspects of social life, creates new ways in which we can understand the lives of others.
In respect of academia then, does vlogging offer the possibility for us to open the doors ever more so those who we serve within the higher education, i.e. the general public and society writ large? We research within the social sciences I would argue to offer new insights into social life, to help make changes to policy and practice, to find new ways of working, doing, being and to document the aspects the life that have been before or are emerging now. Vlogging would allow us to give greater insight to what it means to be an academic, to what we do, and to translate our findings to a wider audience. Obviously there are limits to the parameters of everyday academic life that can be shared, i.e. ethical considerations around when we are fieldworking, teaching etc, however there are possibilities around how we could share.
In an era of measuring impact, reaching out, opening up, and demystifying the work that academics do and the social value of our work, can only be a good thing, for both academics and the wider general public.
So perhaps 2016 will see more vlogging…. watch this space!