Vlogging and podcasting have blown up in recent years, as authors, celebrities, fashion icons, and plain ol’ Joes flock to alternate means of sharing their ideas and stories, beyond the written word.  But before we start using these different mediums ourselves, perhaps an overview and exploration will help.

Vlog” = video log; instead of a written blog post, vloggers record themselves talking to the camera and sharing their thoughts.  Below are some of the most popular vloggers currently out there.  Watch some of their clips and ask yourself the following question:  What qualities are present in some of the most effective vlogs?

J Smooth – A self-described hip-hop video blog, J Smooth talks about all things from music to race to pop culture.  An insightful, thought-provoking vlogger for sure!

 Vlogbrothers – A YouTube channel hosted by author John Green and his brother Hank.  These two hilarious guys riff on all sorts of random topics, from current day political issues to what they ate for lunch.  Often insightful, always funny, it’s a great YouTube channel to which to subscribe.

Zoella – Zoe Sugg, a 20-something UK girl who vlogs under the moniker “Zoella,” is one of the most popular of the young vloggers of this generation.  She vlogs about a variety of topics, but tends to focus especially on fashion and beauty.  And if you thought blogs and vlogs were just a hobby?  She’s turned this part-time pastime into a career, inking deals with a number of fashion agencies to promote their items.

Tyler Oakley – Another popular YouTuber-under-30, Tyler vlogs about a variety of topics, often in response to fan tweets and questions about pop culture topics.  He is also an outspoken supporter of LGBT rights, and his vlogs occasionally tackle issues surrounding LGBT politics & culture.

 Physics Girl – Dianna Cowan is a young MIT grad who vlogs about all things science, with the goal of getting girls interested in a traditionally male-dominated field.  With posts featuring videos of her experiments, thought-provoking questions, and interviews with famous scientists, Physics Girl is definitely an intriguing channel for any person to follow.

JacksGap – British twins Jack and Finn Harries launched a combination blogging and vlogging project in 2012 as a means of chronicling their gap year.  Since then, it’s exploded, with over 4 million subscribers to their YouTube channel and hundreds of thousands of views of each video.  Their site covers a number of topics, from environmental issues to mental health to profiles of interesting people.


Podcast” = iPod broadcast; originally tied only to the iPod, podcasts have expanded to include any audio file in which individuals record their commentary, interviews, and conversations about any number of topics.  Below are some of the most popular podcasts currently out there.  Listen to their recordings and ask yourself the following question:  What qualities are present in some of the most effective podcasts?

 Hardcore History – Historian Dan Carlin does an incredible job turning the events of the past into an engaging, edge-of-your-seat narrative, chronicling various events like the fall of the Roman Empire, the reign of Genghis Khan, and the bloodiest conflicts in world history.  Even those without a penchant for history will enjoy Carlin’s storytelling!

 DLC – A weekly podcast about all things gaming, hosts Jeff Cannata and Christian Spicer bring in all sorts of guests, from gamers to celebrities to bigwigs in the industry.  Charming and enthusiastic, these guys are definitely an engaging pair to listen to!

 Fareed Zakaria GPS – Want to know about political issues but not spend the time reading all about them?  Then subscribe to this weekly podcast, where this CNN world issues guru breaks down some of the key issues to be aware of, infusing them with interviews and predictions to give you a solid understanding of what’s important now.

 The Dinner Party Download – Hosts Rico Gagliano and Brendan Francis Newnam host a “dinner party” in which they explore various pop culture events, while also interviewing various famous people and exploring unique historical food and drink.  There’s such a wealth of interesting people and information that the episodes never get boring!

Andy Daly Pilot Project – Actor and comedian Andy Daly, who excels at improvisation and multiple characters, hosts a weekly comedy podcast featuring any number of comedian guests.  He uses each episode to showcase a different character he plays, and it’s definitely one of the funniest podcasts currently out there.

99% Invisible – Roman Mars, the host of 99% Invisible, devotes each week’s shows to various topics that have come to play a large part of our daily lives, such as Wonder Bread, cul-de-sacs, and the Ouija Board (featured below).  If you’re looking to up your trivia or cocktail party game, this is the show for you.