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Minnesota video-bloggers: the best and the brightest

Words just aren't enough for Karen Alloy.

The prolific Minneapolis video-blogger has captured viewers around the world with her humorous — and sometimes crass — YouTube monologues on topics ranging from halitosis to glowing monkeys.

"Who wants to sit down and take the time to think and type when you can press record and say what comes to you?" the vibrant redhead said when asked why she chose video blogging over text.

With more followers on Twitter than Joe Mauer and YouTube page views that stretch well into the millions, Alloy is proof that facetime and personality can draw serious online audiences. She may be Minnesota's first true online-only celebrity.

Alloy leads an inventive crop of Minnesotans who are opting to take their messages online using video instead of simply typing text onto page. And we've only just begun to see what they're capable of doing.

"There is a whole generation coming up...all they want is to find their 15 minutes of fame on the Internet," Alloy said.

Emotional connection
Dr. Pamela Rutledge is director of the Media Psychology Research Center, where she studies how humans interact using online social networking tools. She said she believes that Alloy and others have success growing big followings online because video allows people to communicate on several levels with the viewers.

"The visual perception includes a wealth of information about emotion since we read emotion in the face, tone of voice and body language," she explained.

An added advantage for bloggers is that video can personalize a message far better than text can.

"The human brain perceives things on a very fundamental level," Rutledge said. "Consequently, video can be perceived as real, even when you know congitively that there is a computer in between. This enhances persuasive elements."

But Rutlegdge cautioned that as much as video can enhance persuasion when you appeal to someone, it can also work in the opposite direction if someone finds you off-putting.
 
Fun and golf

Let's face it, when done well, video has the potential to be whole lot more fun than text. Nowhere is this more evident than on "The Craig Show."

"The Craig Show" is a bi-weekly golf-advice-comedy show featuring Craig Teiken and his silent caddy filmed at golf courses around Minneapolis. It aims to add at least one useful golf tip in each three- to five-minute personality-driven piece.

"It's based on Craig's philosophy that golf needs to get back its roots as a community game that anyone can play without spending lots of money and buying fancy gear," explained the show's producer, Paul Irmiter.  

The show is charming and local golfers will appreciate seeing their favorite courses used as a backdrop.

Irmiter conceded that video isn't always the best choice for content online because there is very little text, making it almost invisible to search engines. However, he believes his recipe works because Craig's personality is strong and the topic is so visual.

"How would you explain a golf swing in words?" he asked.

Authenticity and sincerity

Melinda Jacobs spent years doing radio and television in the Twin Cities before taking on video blogging. She devoted two years studying the economics and technology of the industry before jumping into the digital era to do long-form celebrity interviews.

For her, the most appealing part of doing video is online is the flexibility she has to create a product that is uniquely hers.

"Things are not nearly as planned and prepared and highly produced online," Jacobs said. "I feel that if I did that, it wouldn't come off as sincere."

Even though she hopes to eventually make a living with online video, she refuses to put ads or product placements into her pieces if she doesn't believe in them. She said she only used Byerly's as the backdrop for her recent interview with Dan Akroyd because she likes Byerly's and shops there.

She will also often edit self-depricating commentary bubbles into her videos before publishing them online to add a layer of her own post-recording reflections to the pieces.

"There are times when I need to call myself out, and I don't have trouble doing that," she said. "That's something you can only do online."

Other Minnesota video blogs
Here are a few other Minnesota-based personal video sites that are worth visiting:

• Rob Barrett's "Cooking For Dads"

• Matt Peiken's "3-Minute-Egg"

• Jimmy "Dutch" Gaines' "Dude Weather"

 I am sure I missed other strong sites; please feel free to post them in the comments below.

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Comments (1)

Dude weather has been for a long time ahead of many of us on this
deal and I wish him a great deal of success!
Congratulations Jimmy for getting some well deserved press.