Our very fast week-long trip to Florida last week turned out to be a fun experiment into daily Vlogging – or filing daily video blog reports to my Roadtreking RV Channel.
I used the hot social media app Snapchat (my username there is roadtrekingmike) to file short little 10-second long video snippets of our day, whether on the road, parking lot camping at a friend's beachfront condo, shopping or handling the unexpected bumps and adventures that come from traveling long distances in an RV.
The response was very favorable. As we experimented with the reports it became clear that Vlogging was a very effective tool for answering questions and sharing experiences.
I didn't publish any of the reports on this blog (until now). Instead I edited a composite video at the end of day of all of the 10-second Snapchat reports and made it into one edited video available on my Roadtreking YouTube Channel. Sometimes, I posted a link to that day's Vlog on our Roadtreking Facebook Group. Sometimes I just put it on YouTube.
I promised to share the stats, so here they are (as of Sunday night, April 10, 2016):
- I did 10 different Vlogs that were watched by a total of 10,576 people on YouTube – slightly over 1,000 per video.
- On Snapchat, 223 people subscribed to my reports, receiving instant notice every time a new 10 second clip was recorded.
- After asking for feedback, I received 54 emails and numerous comments on You Tube and our Facebook Group. All but a handful were extremely positive and supportive.
So those are the stats. Not bad, especially without a lot of promotion. Now here's what I learned:
- Snapchat itself is not the easiest social media tool to use and getting the video shot and to display in landscape (sideways) orientation is cumbersome and requires several steps. Snapchat wants its users to shoot in portrait mode (narrow, vertical orientation). It is awkward shooting selfies in landscape mode over a smartphone. And you can't use a selfie stick because Snapchat only records when you press and keep holding your thumb on the record button. But once the clips are all shot and saved to the phone photo gallery as a single “My Story,” it then needs to be uploaded to YouTube. There, it has to be to be edited and rotated for landscape view. Not terribly difficult, but needlessly complicated.
- Snapchat itself is not very popular with my RV demographic. My RV community likes blogs, Facebook and You Tube. Snapchat, like Twitter, is used by a relatively small part of my audience. That said, I do believe it is exposing me to a new segment of younger RVers. And I really enjoy getting their instant feedback and messages and I can say that Snapchat has helped me develop online friendships with several new people.
- Doing 10-second Vlog updates throughout the day and saving them in the “My Story” section of Snapchat takes little effort, is a lot of fun and, compiled at the end of the day, makes a very nice little video journal, or video diary, of that day's experiences. To that end, I think it has lots of applications that all RVers could appropriate.
- I have a love/hate relationship with Snapchat. I love the fact that it forces you to get right to the point in those 10 second clips. I hate the challenge of recording it in landscape and having to keep that record button pushed. I'm prepared to switch to a different app if and when I find one I like better. I'm experimenting with several apps billed as Vlogging tools but all are equally or more complicated than Snapchat.
In all, I'd say doing the daily Vlogs, editing and publishing them to YouTube added maybe an hour to my workday. That's not too bad.
So, the bottom line is, yes, I will keep doing Vlogs. Not every day, unless on the road or in an interesting place, but at least a couple times a week. Jennifer and I will answer reader/viewer questions, do short show and tells and share our Roadtreking life. I'm heading to the Roadtrek factiry Kitchener Ontario this week. So I think a Vlog about the various things going on at the factory will be in order.
Some of those future Vlogs may appear here on the main Roadtreking blog. But most will be on YouTube. You can subscribe to my YouTube feed by going to youtube.com/user/roadtrekingmike
As usual, I welcome your feedback and ideas.