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Last Updated: Saturday, 10 September 2005, 09:58 GMT 10:58 UK
Vloggers get political in Norway
By Clark Boyd
Technology correspondent

Election poster in Norway
Nine parties are competing for the votes of the public
A video-blogger from Bergen in Norway is turning his camcorder on politicians, ahead of Norwegian parliamentary elections on Monday.

Twenty-seven-year-old Raymond Kristiansen weaves quickly in and out of the crowds of locals and tourists on the streets of Bergen. He carries with him a small, hand-held camcorder that seems like a natural extension of his arm.

Kristiansen is constantly on the prowl for footage. "Often I just walk around and share moments," he says.

"Sharing moments" is what Kristiansen does as a video-blogger.

"I like to take walks when I'm having my breaks at work, and then I vlog my walks and put them online. I can just ramble on about philosophy, or whatever."

Kristiansen is part of a growing number of people around the world who are incorporating video into their online diaries.

Some of these so-called vloggers use high-end video cameras, while others make do with digital still cameras that can shoot 30 seconds of footage.

Some try to do humour. Others are more artistic.

Reindeer, politics and laughs

In his nine months of vlogging, Kristiansen has done a bit of everything. Earlier this year, he posted videos he shot during Norway's National Day festivities.

He has also interviewed relatives in northern Norway about their reindeer herds.

Kristiansen has also used the camera as a kind of therapy. In one grainy vlog he posted back in August, he lamented; "I haven't made much money myself in the last several months. So, I guess video-blogging has taken a bit too much of my time."

Raymond Kristiansen
We don't need the mainstream media to tell us what's interesting anymore. Millions of people want to tell their stories, and with video-blogging, they can tell their stories
Raymond Kristiansen
Kristiansen does not consider himself to be a leader in the vlogosphere, which is the community of video-bloggers across the globe.

But he is spearheading the use of vlogs in politics, as an active member of the youth wing of Norway's Liberal Party.

At a recent campaign event ahead of the elections, the leader of the Liberal Party did a photo-op with a local businessman in Bergen. While the mainstream media gathered around to record sound bites, Kristiansen stood in the background, taping the entire event with his small camcorder.

"I'm from the party, and yet I'm looking at the party," Kristiansen says of his strange middle role. "I see myself as a mix of sort-of archivist, someone trying to capture things immediately.

"I am inside, and I am promoting the party, and if I do decide to put some of this online, it will be to show how the media use our party."

Kristiansen says he is looking for perspectives on politics that will energise a new generation of Norwegian voters.

"Today in Norway, many youth are feeling disillusioned with politics," he Kristiansen. "They feel that politics is all the same. And if I can interview people, put them online, it lowers the barrier."

Quick and dirty

Kristiansen admits that some of the older members of the party are not quite sure about vlogging.

Some are sceptical that online videos can help spread the party's message. Others are afraid of pulling back the curtain on the party's inner workings.

"One of the advisers was asking me, 'Why is Raymond filming?'" says Lars-Henrik Michelsen, president of the Liberal Youth Party.

Screenshot of Ourmedia
The vlogging community is growing on the web
"I think it's unusual, and people aren't used to it. And so, people ask questions at the beginning. But we are not worried about Raymond broadcasting something online that he should not. I think it will be good for the party, and people get more inside information."

After the news conference, Kristiansen rushes back the party's offices in Bergen. It only takes him a few minutes to download footage from his camera to the computer.

He then does a bit of editing, and adds a few finishing touches. "I want it to be quick and dirty, that's what I like about video-blogging," he says.

In no time, he has uploaded his one minute video clip to the party's weblog, and his own personal blog.

He personal site is www.dltq.org. The D-L-T-Q stands for Don't Lose the Question.

"And what's the question I don't want to lose?" asks Kristiansen. "What is video-blogging?"

That question is something Kristiansen and other vloggers are figuring that out, day by day, frame by frame.

"We don't need the mainstream media to tell us what's interesting anymore," he says. "Millions of people want to tell their stories, and with video-blogging, they can tell their stories."

Kristiansen is a real evangelist for vlogging, especially outside the US. As he likes to tell people it's all fun. He is helping organise the European Videoblogging Conference in Amsterdam, which is scheduled to start 10 September.

Clark Boyd is technology correspondent for The World, a BBC World Service and WGBH-Boston co-production


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