Welcome to Scribd. Sign in or start your free trial to enjoy unlimited e-books, audiobooks & documents.Find out more
Standard view
Full view
of .
Look up keyword
Like this
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
Beginning a Monologue- The Opening Sequence of Video Blogs

Beginning a Monologue- The Opening Sequence of Video Blogs

|Views: 16|Likes:
Published by Phalangchok Wanphet

More info:

Categories:Topics, Art & Design
Published by: Phalangchok Wanphet on Sep 19, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less





Beginning a monologue: The opening sequence of video blogs
Maximiliane Frobenius*
Saarland University, Geb. C5 3, Campus Saarbr 
cken, D-66123 Saarbr 
cken, Germany
1. Introduction
This paper describes the opening sequences of video blogs (vlogs). It presents the various ways people make use of conventions from other genres, how they make up and try to establish their own conventions, and how this facilitates theproduction of a vlog, especially the opening sequence. Research on openings and research on monologues is applied to vlogdata, integrating the two strands.Schegloff(1968),inhisarticle‘‘SequencinginConversationalOpenings’’,focussedontheallocationofspeakerroles(
first speaker 
second speaker 
) betweentwo parties. Assuming that conversation between two ormore participantsisthe default, most frequent pattern, then monologues, which lack an opening phase constructed around fairly quickexchanges of turns, must pose a challenge.Garrod and Pickering (2004)claim that dialogue is easier to produce thanmonologue because of an interactive processing mechanism that leads to the alignment of linguistic representationsbetweenpartners.However,intheproductionofamonologue,thereisnosecondspeakertonegotiatetheseroleswith.Thus,single speakers must develop compensatory strategies that make up for the missing co-construction which entails a lack of turn taking and negotiation of speaker roles. These strategies are a rich area of study whose explorationwill help illuminategenerally how speakers adapt to their speech situation, not only in the context of monologues, but also in the context of newly developing media more generally. The current study gives an overview of the different strategies vloggers employ,proposing a taxonomy of different practices in opening sequences. As vlogs make up a fairly young genre which is stilldeveloping, this categorization cannot encompass the complete range of openings.Thepresentinvestigationappliespreviousfindingsfromresearchonmonologuesandresearchonopeningstothenovelareaofvlogs.Thestudylaysoutthefeaturesoftalkthatisbereftofsalientdialogicelements,i.e.phaticcommunionandsequentality,which cannotoccur due tothe missinginterlocutor.I demonstrate how the transition fromsilencetotalk ismanagedinstead
 Article history:
Received 12 November 2009
Received in revised form 17 September 2010
Accepted 19 September 2010
CMCComputer-mediated communicationVlogVideo blogMonologueOpening
This study investigates the beginning sequences of video blogs, a relatively new form of computer-mediated communication. It analyzes spoken language with regards to thethree salient factors that shape the situation the passages under analysis occur in: (1) it ismonologic language, (2) the passages are opening sequences, (3) the passages are takenfrom a CMC context. As a result, the paper provides a taxonomy of practices commonlyused in this setting. Furthermore, I demonstrate that speakers develop and borrowstrategies to compensate for the missing interlocutor. Openings in video blogs do notnecessarily have the same functions as conversational openings in other settings. Theyrepresent an interactional element to encourage viewers to respond via the interactivefeature embedded in the website, and they work toward identity construction.
2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
* Tel.: +49 681 3022214; fax: +49 681 3023670.
E-mail address:
Contents lists available atScienceDirect
 Journal of Pragmatics
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/pragma
0378-2166/$ – see front matter
2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.doi:10.1016/j.pragma.2010.09.018
usingstrategiesborrowedfromothermonologicgenres,whiletakingintoconsiderationthetechnicaloptionsofthevloggenre.These options render the data unique in the study of computer-mediated communication (CMC) or mediated discourse ingeneral,sincetwophasesofproductionofunscripted,spokenmaterialneedtobedistinguished,asIshowinthenextsection.Everything that is usually negotiated in openings (availability for interaction, identification, social status, alignment of participants)isirrelevantforvlogopenings,since(someof)thesethingshappenviadifferentchannels.Soifopeningsequencesin vlogs are not actually needed, one must ask why some speakers have an introductory phase. As early as1956, Horton andWohlcoined the term
para-social interaction
to describe practices used in TV presenters’ talk, such as direct address of theaudience.Tolson(2005)statesaboutgreetingsdirectedattheaudienceinmonologicmediatalkthat‘‘thetalkconstructsaplacefor
interaction,whetherornotitistakenupinpractice’’(10).Hecontinues:‘‘Itmightsimplybeawayofreachingouttothe active listener, provoking a basic form of active listenership.’’ Transferred to vlog openings, these statements assigninteractiveelementsofthevlogtextthefunctionofpersuadingtheviewerstomakeuseofthevariousfeaturesofthewebsitethat allow them to reply: writing comments, rating the video, sending a personal message or posting a video response.Onatheoreticallevel,thispapercontributestothedescriptionofmonologuesasinteractionbyrevealingwhatresourcesspeakers use to appeal to their audience. Speakers on vlogs clearly try to make their videos interesting to their audience, toincludethemintheinteractionbydiscussingrelevanttopicsandaddressingthemdirectly,ortopersuadethemtoengageintwo-way interaction via channels outside the actual video. The basic underlying assumption is that audience design is adriving factor in this genre, even though the audience is largely unknown to the speaker and does not take an active part inthe spoken interaction. The first moments of a video are highly relevant for the viewer’s decision whether to continuewatchingitornot,andthisrepresentsanincentiveforvloggerstomaketheiropeningsparticularlyrelevanttotheaudience.The data consist of a corpus that currently contains 100 vlogs that were made and uploaded to the website YouTubebetween 2006 and 2010. They vary in length between 29 s and 9 min, 32 s. They were recorded by 26 female and 32 malespeakers.Thespeakerswhosevlogsareanalyzedinthispaperwereaskedforpermissiontousetheirvideodataforlinguisticanalysis.Twousersarementionedbytheironlineusernameonlyeitherbecausetheircontactdatawasnotavailable,ortheydid not reply to the request.
This paper introduces vlogs as a genre, followed by an overview of previous research on openings and on monologues.Data analysis forms the main body of this study. The paper concludes with a discussion of the findings regarding openings,monologues, and CMC.
2. Vlogs as genre
VlogsarearelativelynewmultimodalgenreofCMC,involvingaspeakershootingvideofootageofhim-orherself,whichislateruploadedontotheinternet.Intheproductionofavlog,therearetwophases:thetapingofthematerial,duringwhichspeechproductiontakesplace,andtheeditingofthevideo,duringwhichtheoriginalsequencescanbealteredsignificantly.Depending on video editing skills and the vlogger’s choices, vlogs display various degrees of editing work. Thus, during theediting phase, vloggers make decisions about every image and every sound they have recorded.Most vlogs feature a single speaker. Usually, there are no signs of other people’s presence during the taping. Vlogsinstantiate non-scripted, non-institutionalized monologue situations, as opposed to fairly conventionalized situations suchas lectures, news reports, radio broadcast talk, sermons, etc. They display parallels to answering machine messages, whicharealsogenerallyunscriptedbuthave,asagenre,developedconventions.Withlectures,sermons,andnewsreports,thereisan obvious reversal in the order of appearance of content and medium/genre: clearly, the genre has been developed as ameans of spreading information effectively. Lectures are an established vehicle for the dissemination of topic boundinformationfromoneexperttoapotentiallylargeaudience.Sermonsworkalongthesamepatternonlyinadifferentsettingand with more restrictions with regard to the topic. News reports are one realization of spreading information about recentevents, a need for which has long existed before they took on the form of TV or radio monologues. Vlogs, on the other hand,developed first as a new medium: as video hosting websites facilitated the exchange of video data, users started generatingoriginal content to make use of this medium created by technological progress.Thevlogsettingdiffersfromothermonologuesettings.Therearesignsofnervousnessorhesitationpresentinvlogs,suchas laughter, that are not expected at the beginning of lectures, sermons, news reports, etc., which might, however, occur inanswering machine talk. I ascribe this primarily to the lack of conventions and the free choice of topic that are features of vlogs,andtosomedegreeofansweringmachinetalk,butnotoftheothergenresmentioned.Likewise,therearenotemporalrestrictions for vlogs. Both the news and lectures have fixed times for the beginning and the end. Sermons have an assigned
The Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR) suggests several criteria to be checked concerning internet research ethics (Ess, 2002). The followingarguments based on these criteria lead me to believe that using this data is ethically acceptable. The interaction under study takes place on a publiclyaccessiblewebsite.Thissiteoffersitsuserstorestrictaccesstocertainotherusers,i.e.aprivatemodus.Noneofthevideosinvestigatedinthispaperweresetto that modus. Furthermore, vloggers regularly show signs of their consciousness of the fact that they are in a public setting, as they encourage actions(‘‘please rate, comment and subscribe’’) that create more traffic and thus attract more viewers to their channel. YouTube’s terms of use state that ‘‘Anypersonal information or video content that you voluntarily disclose online (e.g., video comments, your profile page) may be collected and used by others.’’Creators of the material (vloggers) whose content is cited in this article are (according to the information they give online) over 18 years of age; vlogs byunderage users are not explicitly discussed here, however, they are part of the data discussed in section 4. There are no ‘‘ethically significant risks’’ (Ess,2002:7) for vloggers whose content is discussed here: firstly, the research is concerned with the form of the language used, not the content, secondly,opening sequences hardly represent ‘‘sensitive topics’’.
M. Frobenius/Journal of Pragmatics 43 (2011) 814–827 
slot in the fixed order of events in a church service, resulting in restrictions with respect to length. However, vlogs can berecorded at any time. So, lecturers, preachers, and news reporters have to adhere to certain time frames when deliveringtheir work. Vloggers, on the other hand, may postpone the job of recording, or they may shoot and re-shoot footage as oftenas they want. Callers who leave answering machine messages have to make several choices which restrict them in certainways:first,theyneedtodecidetoleaveamessageinthefirstplace;second,oncetheyhavedecidedthat,theycannotchoosewhen to tape the message, thus they have no preparation time. This could be a reason for the development of patterns inanswering machine talk: callers might feel under pressure to produce coherent talk immediately and on record. A generallyaccepted template along which to produce this talk is a helpful strategy.Vlogshaveaspecialtheoreticalsignificanceinthattheyconstituteagenresoyoungthattheconventionsarestillinaprocessofnegotiation.Theconditionsavloggerfacesaresimilartothoseofatelevisionnewspresenter.Inbothsettings,peopletalkintoagenerallyimmobilecamera,whichrestrictsspeakerstoalimitedareanotjusttostaywithinthecameraframe,butalsotostaywithin the microphone sensitivity range. Also the camera’s angle of view is smaller than a human’s field of vision that isavailable in face-to-face conversation, and of course it is two-dimensional. Despite these similarities, the outcome of the twogenresisquitedifferent.Thus,vlogsaresignificantlyshapedbythesocialcontext:avloggerisanindependent(usually,butnotnecessarily) unpaid, private and untrained individual, while a TV news presenter is a journalist representing a broadcastnetwork. Vloggers usually reach between just a few (less than 100) and several thousands of viewers, with few exceptionsthat run into the millions. News broadcasts on TV regularly attract a multiple of those numbers. Vlogs can be about anytopic, presented as personal opinions, while news broadcasts report recent events often assuming an objective stance. As aresult,vloggersspeakandbehavelessformallythanTVpresenters,whoadheretoacertainformaletiquette.Vloggerslaugh,tell jokes, sing, vary in volume (from whispering to yelling), use taboo language and other informal vocabulary, etc.Vlogsaredistinctfromblogs,anotherasynchronousmodeofonlinecommunication,inseveralways,butthetwogenresalsoshare certain features. Blogs are defined as ‘‘frequently modified web pages containing dated entries listed in reversechronological sequence’’ (Herring et al., 2004). They are predominantly made up of written language, though some containimages orhave video sequences embedded. All poststhat are archived ononeuser’s page make up his or her blog. Vlog postsconstitute a vlog by themselves; the entirety of one user’s vlog posts is archived on their profile page (‘‘channel’’), also inchronological order. Thus, a blogger posts
on their blog 
, a vlogger posts
a vlog 
. Many blogs can be characterized as ‘‘single-authored, personal diaries’’ (Herring et al., 2005); vloggers, too, tend to discuss personal matters in monologic form. Bothvloggersandbloggersarealwaysincontroloftheirposts,makingdecisionsaboutthelength,topic,degreeofformalityetc.Blogscancontainlinkstootherwebsites,forexampleashyperlinksinthetext.Vloggershavetheoptionofeditinghyperlinksintothevideo frame of their vlog, though this is one of the more recent technical features. In both genres, recipients can post writtencomments(althoughthisfunctioncanbedisabled,or,foranumberofblogs,itisnotpartofthebloggersoftware(Herringetal.,2005)); in the case of vlogs, one can post another video as a response. This appears underneath the video frame.Thesesimilarities,andofcoursethederivationofthename‘‘vlog’’from‘‘blog,’’suggestthatvlogsconstituteasub-genre,ortype,ofblog.Scheidt(2009),quotingWikipedia,definesvlogsas‘‘weblogsthatusevideototelltheirstories,ofteninsteadoforinadditiontotext’’(p.44).Thatclassificationseemssensiblefromaperspectivethatdescribesaninternetgenreecologyemphasizing the similarities in purpose, authorial options and subsequent organization. From a linguistic perspective, Iconsider essential the distinction between vlogs that use spoken language and moving images (including gestures, gaze,shifts in pitch and volume
[ 1 _ T D $ D I F F ]
, etc.) and written weblogs, resulting in a system that classifies
as sub-cases of ashared genre.AsaworkingdefinitionofvlogsIsuggest‘‘avideosequencesimilartoablogthatauser(vlogger)shootsofhim-orherseltalkingintoacameraand,afteroptionalediting,uploadstotheinternet,whereviewerscanrateitand/orleavecommentsinwritten or video form.’’ I distinguish between vlogs and other videos such as sketches or how-to videos based on the mainfocus on the content of the spoken language: vloggers predominantly tell stories or discuss topical events. The focus in asketch or how-to video is on the action shown in the images that are accompanied by spoken language.
3. Research on openings and research on monologues
Gold (1991)identifies four sections in answering machine messages and describes the devices callers use to compensatefor their absent interlocutor. She observes that the ‘‘greeting section’’ (p. 246) contains elements borrowed from othergenres: greetings are reminiscent of the ritualized salutations in letters; information such as date and/or location and timealso occur in the letter frame. Further, she likens answering machine talk greetings to written language as both containfeatures that compensate for the time/space gap between interlocutors. Gold describes self-identification as a feature of answering machine messages, while she deems it pragmatically inappropriate in both face-to-face and regular telephoneconversation. Vlog openings contain features borrowed from other genres as well: some contain self-identification and thedate the video is posted. Vlogs and answering machine messages differ in important respects: vlogs are audio-visual ratherthanaudiodata,andtheyarerecordedwiththeknowledgethatoneisabouttoproduceamonologuewhichcanthereforebeplanned in advance. Answering machine messages are unplanned recordings, by callers who expected to have a dialoguewithanotherperson.Vloggerscanedittheirmaterialafterrecordingit;callersspeakingonansweringmachinetapescannotdo so in most cases.Liddicoat (1994), expanding the research byGold (1991)to cover both the pre-recorded message by the called party and thespontaneouslyrecordedmessagebythecaller,pointsout‘‘thattechnologicalmeansofcommunicationplaceconstraints
M. Frobenius/Journal of Pragmatics 43 (2011) 814–827 

You're Reading a Free Preview

/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->