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Van Zakolin is an avid rider and regularly documents his motorbike escapades in the form of vlogging. Photo supplied

Local vloggers chase YouTube dream

Video blogging, or vlogging, is still a relatively new concept in Cambodia, but the filming and sharing medium is growing in popularity as the youth look for different and creative ways to broadcast their lives and travel adventures.

Filmmaker Sievphin Chong, 23, is relatively new to the video blogging scene, having started dabbling with opening his life up to world over the Internet at the end of 2016.

Sievphin now posts regularly on his YouTube channel, called Peace Derleng.

“I am enjoying having my own travelling vlogging channel,” Sievphin said, adding that he originally started vlogging to ‘tease’ his audience about his fun adventures.

“[Vlogging] captures me and my friends having fun, although I am not a daily vlogger yet.”

An avid traveller, Sievphin said he doesn’t stick to a specific vlogging schedule, preferring to focus on making sure the creative process comes naturally.

With his more than 17,000 YouTube subscribers, Sievphin regularly cracks 10,000 views on his vlogs as his loyal followers keenly watch his adventures throughout different parts of Cambodia.

Through his vlogging, which he views as a story-telling medium, Sievphin said he also hopes to inspire the next generation of vloggers in the Kingdom.

“Everyone can start a vlog to entertain yourself and others,” he said.

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Sievphin Chong at Sopheakmith waterfall in Stung Treng. Photo supplied

Commenting on the growing popularity of blogging and vlogging in Cambodia, social media analyst and blogger at blueladyblog.com Keo Kounila, said the advent of the visual storytelling vehicles date back to when the late King Norodom Sihanouk maintained a blog and updated it when he travelled abroad.

Kounila said in the present day, growing smartphone usage, technology and social media proliferation have contributed to more people having a go at creating blogs and vlogs as a way to communicate with friends and fans.

According to Kounila, who works at the Cambodian arm of Singaporean public relations firm Redhill Asia, blogging and vlogging isn’t just a self-promotion tool, with its ability to play an important part in education.

“In the Cambodian context, we don’t have a lot of people who love writing, so we can use blogging and vlogging to instil the love of writing into the younger generations,” she said.

Vlogging has yet to reach the notoriety and obsession-level seen with Facebook, but Kounila has observed more youths in Cambodia taking up the trend.

“If the topic or videos are useful for people, more will watch and vloggers can monetise their channels to help make their vlog journey more sustainable,” she said.

Technology and general life vlogger Keo Oudom has been a vlogger for a few years after first starting out as a blogger.

Oudom said there was no right or wrong way to create a vlog, but vloggers should be mindful of telling an interesting story while keeping track of video duration.

“The main thing is the need to have a good story,” Oudom said, when talking about what one needs to be successful at blogging.

Oudom also poured cold water on the general assumption that vlogging involves spending thousands on expensive filming equipment.

“You don’t need to have an expensive camera or equipment, you can start out with just your smartphone,” he said.

When speaking about the differences between blogging and vlogging, Oudom said there was extra work involved with vlogging because of the voice and video component and the extra skill involved in operating the video equipment.

Oudom said there were many advantages when it came to life as a vlogger. One of the biggest upsides is the ability to be an influencer while concurrently inspiring people through sharing their own individual stories.

Van Zakolin, a 28-year-old vlogger who recently journeyed to Vietnam for his video documentation, said some people were engaging in vlogging to show off.

“I am a vlogger, but I don’t usually show my face,” he said.

Three years ago, Zakolin started his own vlog recording his travels on his motorbike, keen to showcase his adventures to a Cambodian audience.

Zakolin noted that when he first started out, he didn’t receive much interest from the public, but now his fan base has grown exponentially. Videos posted to his YouTube account, Frost Zk Cambodia Motovlog, sometimes amass up to 300,000 views while his Facebook account can garner views of more than 100,000.

“My videos capture people’s attention and I have to deal with that public attention,” he said, adding that he was currently planning a trip on his motorbike to Laos for his vlog.

“Today, my motorbike is like my wife and I connect myself with nature through vlogging and I hope my audience can appreciate Cambodia’s nature and tourism through that.”

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