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I call bullshit

SLATE: How Ze Frank became a Web video star

"YouTube hadn't really caught on. There were a handful of aggressive video blogs. No one was harnessing the conversational energy." That was the genius insight: Ze conceived of his project as a conversation. Most writing and art says, "Look at me." Ze said, "Talk to me."

I'm sorry, but that's a steaming pile of bullshit. Videoblogging was about conversation from the start. Ian Mills spent a year interacting with his audience via The 05 Project (original site offline). Ryan Hodson posted No Answers in Jan. 2005, inviting people to enter into a conversation with her about religion. Michael Verdi's Vlog Anarchy lit a firestorm of conversation and video responses. The list goes on and on.

Ze Frank is a talented guy, and he took audience interaction to new heights. Earth sandwich is freaking brilliant. But Ze Frank did not invent the concept of "harnessing conversational energy" in a videoblog. I'd argue nobody did. It's simply a natural outgrowth of our human desire to communicate.

March 27, 2007 at 10:25 AM in Videoblogging | Permalink



Posted by: quirk at Mar 27, 2007 10:36:57 AM

Absolutely. I'm not sure who invented conversations through art, but I assume it happened in some cave on a wall somewhere in Sumaria.

Posted by: schlomo at Mar 27, 2007 11:19:20 AM

here here!

Posted by: Clintus at Mar 27, 2007 2:12:11 PM

The sooner Vloggers move beyond who was first, the better.

When I was in that crowd that was always the second topic behind the first, which was what is a Vlog.

Ya know?


Posted by: ZuDfunck at Mar 28, 2007 6:19:18 AM

Yeah, those topics suck.

Posted by: chuck at Mar 28, 2007 1:45:47 PM

I invented conversations.

Posted by: andrew at Mar 28, 2007 2:10:49 PM

And Q-Tips.

Posted by: andrew at Mar 28, 2007 2:11:41 PM

I invented rap music.

Posted by: chuck at Mar 28, 2007 2:13:10 PM

i drink coffee and stare at water.

Posted by: ryanne at Apr 2, 2007 10:39:48 AM

and it's totally weird that i wrote that
because it's exactly what jay was doing in this video way back when:


i think it's ok to have this conversation and talk about the history of things. why not? there were people before ze frank and way before youtube and i think that's important. there was some really potent stuff happening around here that led to the creation of both YT and Ze's show... i think it's good to go look at those things and not forget. hell it's all on our archives eh?

Posted by: ryanne at Apr 2, 2007 10:45:14 AM


i definitely want to acknowledge our history and fact-check hyperbole like this.

not so interested in arguing about the details endlessly which i think is what ZuDfunck was probably referring to. i feel like we're beyond that though, hopefully.

Posted by: chuck at Apr 2, 2007 5:36:11 PM

I was just wondering if someone could please tell me definitively what a vlog is......

Posted by: Tim at Apr 6, 2007 9:19:13 PM

it all makes me wish a few things...
wish i'd done more with audience participation, followed along more and seen ze frank earlier, wish i'd gotten some of the places apparently ze is going! but alas, i'd chosen a different path...

i thought Falco invented rap music?

Posted by: clark at Apr 9, 2007 5:43:58 PM

Video on a blog is a videoblog.

Posted by: steve garfield at Apr 28, 2007 10:21:59 AM