Rocketboom 2.0 and the power of the vlog

We all heard that this past Monday was supposed to be the debut of Rocketboom 2.0 with new (if temporary) host Joanne Colan. Well Monday came and went, with the Rocketboom site being alternatively down or sporting a message saying the first show was going to be slightly delayed. OK, no problem. Things happen. We’ll wait.

Tuesday then came and, when I first saw the Quicktime box pop up I was hopeful. Finally we’d be able to see if Colan could hold her own and continue the brand name in her own manner. Except all that we saw was someone in a catcher’s mask careening past the desk. Hmm. This was accompianed by a message from co-producer Andrew Baron that he never realized just how much Amanda Congdon did to help the show get done and up for the viewing public. Self-actualization is so messy, isn’t it.

Finally yesterday Joanne Colan made her debut with a piece that contained mostly her and her accent walking around New York, attempting to trade items in much the same fashion as the One Red Paperclip guy. It was amusing in and of itself but I found myself being more disappointed than not with the show. That was not the fault of Colan, who exudes a self-confidence that, I think, is missing from so many other vloggers. No, my problems actually were in the lack of change in the show. I wished they had done something different with the set. The map-on-the-wall background is so very much associated with the former occupant of that chair it was almost distracting. I found myself wishing Baron and the others had spent some time rethinking the show from the ground up.

Then again sometimes I’m just cranky so that might explain part of why I had problems with it. Colan looks great and that accent is undeniable. And it makes sense to provide some brand continuity, but there’s a reason Sammy Hagar didn’t sing many of the David Lee Roth songs when he was with Van Halen. Each person in front of the camera or at the front of a band deserves to be able to set their own identity. Unfortunately with their desire to keep the look of Rocketboom they forget that the feel of Rocketboom would be completely different.

J-Pepp takes the Rocketboom saga – and a few other recent stories relating to vlogging – and wonders whether the medium is going mainstream. Driving right past his uncomfortable use of the word “manhandle”, Jeremy’s got a point. The most recent (by which I mean within the last six hours) story is the hiring of Irina Slutsky and Eddie Codel by Podtech, the company Robert Scoble just joined.

So does this mean that vlogging now has the potential to be big business? Could be. Maybe not. Things are moving so fast that the success they’re achieving might not last long as people’s attention spans move on to the next big thing. The good news is that the people doing this kind of thing are innovators and are incredibly bright, so the odds are good they’ll adapt. I think the point to remember is that it’s not actually important how “big” the business is and focus more on how well you’re serving the market you’re trying to and how easily you’re making yourself findable to people who haven’t yet found you. Therein lies success.

As an interesting sidenote, Tom “Two Screens” Biro told me he first learned of the signing of Slutsky and Codel by viewing the Flickr photo of Slutsky signing her contract. How’s that for an unlikely source.