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
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
M. Frobenius/Journal of Pragmatics 43 (2011) 814–827