Home Why The Demise Of Justin.tv Marks The End Of The Bedroom Vlog

Why The Demise Of Justin.tv Marks The End Of The Bedroom Vlog

Livestreaming site Justin.tv shut down earlier this week after seven years of service (and two months of warning; its original notice went up on June 1). There’s lots of reasonable speculation that the move is related to Google’s still-not-confirmed acquisition of Justin.tv’s sister streaming site, Twitch.tv.

See also: With Twitch, Google Could Dominate The World Of Gaming Videos

And with the demise of Justin.tv, we’re effectively laying to rest the era of the bedroom video blog, or vlog.

Justin.tv, launched in 2007, rapidly gained popularity because of the novelty of democratic livestreaming. Anyone could set up a webcam and broadcast their uninterrupted, unedited life—usually shot from within their homes. Sometimes these folks with a webcam would talk and interact with their audience, and sometimes they would just go about their lives. The voyeur in many of us would watch, raptured.

YouTube used to function on this same principle. Before high quality production, before advertising, before management and agencies stepped in, and before YouTube content creators basically went all Hollywood, there was 2006 and the bedroom vlog.

Usually lightly edited, these often weren’t more than the video ramblings of someone in front of their webcam, sitting in their bedroom.

The Internet hoax Lonelygirl15 shot to stardom on YouTube in 2006 precisely because it followed the then-viral recipe of the bedroom vlog. Viewers tuned in to see a teenaged girl talk about her life.

The authenticity and vulnerability of the bedroom vlog convinced her fans she was just a regular girl broadcasting from her home. In the end, audiences found out that the channel was actually a webseries produced to mimic the online video behavior of the time. Even so, the channel was one of the earliest ones to make YouTube’s “most subscribed of all time” list.

Audiences were drawn to the idea of the uncensored life—it was the video version of the diary or personal journal. But much the way the diary transformed into more open, public blogs (which then transitioned into personal-brand websites), so too did the bedroom vlog’s authenticity and stream-of-consciousness style lose out over time to more polished, professionally produced work. 

Online success cannot be replicated through the model of the bedroom vlog anymore—fickle, on-the-go audiences now need music, bright colors, and endless jump cuts. As YouTube grew and evolved, the bedroom vlog eventually lost its appeal as audiences craved for increasingly high produced content.

The end of Justin.tv may be the final nail in the coffin of the bedroom vlog. Now that the vlog has helped make online video legitimate as a media source, only highly produced videos are going to make the cut.

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