vlog n’ roll

As described in my pitch video, I will be conducting an autoethnographic research project in the media niche lifestyle vlogging, primarily on YouTube, as well as an accompanying Instagram account of related content. The full field site is mapped in my previous blog post.

Developing my online persona is framed through Moore, Barbour and Lee’s (2017) work in the five dimensions of online persona. The first dimension, the public self, essentially describes the eradication of anonymity in most online experiences, which while it sounds a bit dystopian, helps to relieve some of the anxiety around the idea that people will actually see what I make online. The mediatised, performative, collective and value dimensions of persona, as outlined in my pitch, describe my approach in forming a persona similar to those in vlogs that I enjoy and whose audience I’m already in. Specifically in the value dimension, this persona includes aspirational characteristics emphasised in online spaces to produce a particular type of reputation, which has support to suggest are eventually subsumed an incorporated into an offline persona. Basically, I am aiming to create vlogs in the style and persona like those that I watch (like Jenn Im, leahsfieldnotes, Michelle Choi), which I often choose to watch because I want to emulate certain aspects of their lifestyles, which in turn then influences the kind of content I would choose to create as well. These kinds of videos include things like cooking, healthy recipe ideas, fashion, books and movies, general life chores, casual conversations; all done in a conversational, relaxing, informal video style, as if you are catching up with a friend.

Understanding these concepts, as well as comparing and contrasting my experiences as a participant observer with existing research (linked below) allows for additional insights through my experience of creating similar content. Delineating my own experience in watching vlogs may affect the way I develop my online persona and produce content, and vice versa, and this information will be collected, analysed, and communicated under the frameworks and principles of autoethnographic research. 

Links and resources:

Barbour, K, Lee, K & Moore, C 2017, ‘Online persona research: an Instagram case study‘, Persona Studies, vol. 3, no. 2, pp. 1-11.

Biel, J & Gatica-Perez, D 2013, ‘The YouTube Lens: Crowdsourced Personality Impressions and Audiovisual Analysis of Vlogs’, IEEE Transactions on Multimedia, vol. 15, no. 1, pp. 41-55.

Ellis, C, Adams, T & Bochner AP 2011, ‘Authoethnography: An Overview‘, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, vol. 12, no. 1.

Mamori, DR, Najib, M, Maulana, A 2020, ‘Determinants of interest in using travel vlogs on YouTube as a reference for travelling‘, Journal of Applied Management, vol. 18, no. 4, pp. 622-631.

Sanchez-Cortes, D, Kumano, S, Otsuka, K, Gatica-Perez, D 2015, ‘In the Mood for Vlog: Multimodal Inference in Conversation Social Video‘, ACM Transactions on Interactive Intelligent Systems, vol. 5, no. 2.

Stein, J, Koban, K, Joos, S & Ohler, P 2020, ‘Worth the Effort? Comparing Different YouTube Vlog Production Styles in Terms of Viewers’ Identification, Parasocial Response, Immersion, and Enjoyment’, Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts.

Teijeiro-Mosquera, L, Biel, J, Alba-Castro, JL & Gatica-Perez, D 2015, ‘What Your Face Vlogs About: Expressions of Emotion and Big-Five Traits Impressions in YouTube‘, IEEE Transactions on Affective Computing, vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 193-205.


9 thoughts on “vlog n’ roll

  1. Hi Lia 🙂

    interesting post — I often find students talking about their personas and / or personality as if that were a mediated reality… which of course it isn’t. What’s more, when you submit data to the sites you mention, it remains their prerogative whether to publish it or not. Generally, they are much more interested in achieving revenue from ads than in so-called UGC (users are the product being sold to advertisers).

    Apart from lacking authenticity, this type of submission also involves many privacy concerns. Personally, I do not use such spyware services at all. Instead, I DL media via an “anon” connection. If you are interested in learning more about this “new media” landscape, please don’t hesitate to contact me (via email, if you want — yet you should also realize that if you use a service like G mail, then the spyware will be tracking you + me [if / when I should reply to that email address] ).

    🙂 Norbert


  2. Hi Lia,

    I really enjoyed this pitch and the DA you will be working on – I think it’s a great idea! The pitch is professional as it is presented really well and is clear, concise and engaging. It is evident that you have done a great deal of background research relating to your DA and you have drawn on subject lectures and materials such as persona to support your DA as well. Although how will you be presenting your experience as a participant observer? For instance, tweeting, journalling, blogging etc. Also, have you taken into account any ethical considerations of your DA and autoethnographic approaches? Since lifestyle vlogging and YouTubers typically have paid endorsements, which may apply to you in the future, this source: https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/74204377.pdf may be helpful to you as it highlights the trust and responses of viewers concerning paid endorsements. If you ever create a vlog that includes a paid endorsement, perhaps this source will be useful so you can ensure your viewers trust your judgement and what you are advertising. Other than that, it seems like you’re well on the right track and I’m super keen to watch some of your lifestyle vlogs!

    Good luck!


  3. Hi Lia,

    You’ve executed a captivating pitch with a great handle on video while being very clear and well-spoken.

    As a long-time observer of this media niche as well, I can understand the coffee making element as a lot of the good vlogs will usually start with making coffee – I just wanted to tell you your efforts are not unnoticed!

    You seem to have a great understanding on persona and have explicated this in the video and both text which could have been left to explore other avenues for example possibly some ethical considerations.

    I also seemed to miss if you problematised your media niche. Not sure if this is helpful but what comes to mind is a LA Vlogger Emma Chamberlain, as she got more successful in life, her content became less ‘relatable’ which caused some dismay to her long-time loyal fans. Exploring the ‘relatable’ aspect of persona could be interesting.

    “Emma Chamberlain and the business of being relatable”.

    Maybe something to think about.

    I think you’ve chosen a great media niche and wish you all the best in your content creating journey.


  4. Hi Lia,
    You’ve created a really engaging and enthusiastic approach to your pitch and DA here that demonstrates a great understanding of autoethnography, well done! Through the style of your pitch video, you have effectively communicated your DA proposal and research methods in a way that reflects the persona you are aiming to create. Using the five dimensions of online persona to structure your pitch works well, however it would have been great to see some differences between the blog post and video. Whilst I can see you are mentioning slightly different things, I think the pitch would have benefited by using the video to extend further on other aspects of your research or discussing some other points you made including your autoethnographic process in a bit more detail. It’s great to see that you have an extensive list of additional sources that have helped you, but threading this or linking them throughout the pitch would give me a better understanding of how you have integrated each source into your research. Overall, a really promising and professional proposal, I am looking forward to seeing it develop further. Great job!


  5. hey hey! sorry this is late I had an extension 🙂

    Firstly, I want to say that this really does explore the concept of a “niche”, especially when talking about those whos content you engage with yourself and wish to emulate in your own life. It’s very personal, which can be a good thing! however, it can also fall onto the side of not being engaging because it is so personal, if that makes sense? why do people want to watch you? you mention health and cooking as something you watch, and these things can be very engaging for an audience – especially in the context of a lockdown right now and wanting to create healthy food. I love your idea! but I think narrowing it down and marketing that apsect of it first as the initial draw in would benefit you!

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0195666320317049?casa_token=KHfZiKXiVkEAAAAA:0pIkAiVHELYlEREspUsqw8Y45IQWVfPUT1vzqZ0J8mRtuUGeBNfVSnnOGslhFf0b8b8q_FHZWug I found this interesting in reviewing the healthy/eating habbits of people in lockdowns. it mentions the increase of home cooked foods, which could be an idea of trying to capture with cooking as a concept!

    I really liked how informative and deatiled you were about personas and the depth of knowledge you include. I’m really excited to see where you go with this!! 🙂


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