INSIGHT: Live Video and the Power of Digital Storytelling with Vlogger and Podcast Judges, Yusuf Omar

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Live took the UK and the world by storm in 2016 and by now, we all have the statistics that we cannot ignore. Will video eventually replace traditional textual blogs, probably not. Will video have an impact on traditional textual blogs, our answer is, yes, probably and we are already seeing the impact. 

Whether you are already an established video blogger or are thinking about joining the vlogging community, without realising you are more than likely wrapped up in live video content in some way already. Both Vlogger and Podcast judges, from Hindustan Times who is not only passionate about all things live, vlogging and social sharing but are passionate about how others share across digital too. During this interview, Yusuf discusses and shares how video aides the power of storytelling and why Uncle Ben from the hero film hit, Spiderman gives the best advice on being a true Blog Hero!

As vlogger's yourself, we are eager for you to share your 2017 predictions for the world of influencer activity and social media with us!

Yusuf: Live, live, live, a little 360 and lots of Snapchat. 

As cellular signals improve and telecom companies start preparing for 5G coverage, almost all social media could go live. I mean everyone, all the time. Unbuffered broadcasts by a generation that overshares everything (we brought you the toilet selfie), will lead to more live video content than we know what to do with. Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are already prioritizing live video and this trend will only grow. It means more real, raw and organic storytelling. 

How do you think the industry has changed and grown in the last five years and how has your role changed in the industry with it?

Yusuf: Five years ago I was covering Syria, Egypt and the Arab Spring with a cellphone and it was unique. Today, Mojo, or mobile journalism, is an integral part of any storytelling kit. Being able to shoot, edit and broadcast from one device. 

Gone are the days of just being a writer, photographer or filmmaker. In an age of Robo-storytelling where even writing can be automated (you've seen the news stories written by algorithms) we must now become Robo Cop storyteller- armed with lots of different narrative weapons at our disposal. That means the ability to do 360 videos, Snapchat stories and a Facebook Live, all at the same time. 

I think traditional media and news companies no longer regard crowdsourced content as inferior and untrustworthy, and have started embracing the storytelling swagger of social media superstars.

Yes, #FakeNews is a problem, but so is mainstream media's alienation from huge demographics. Seen as too old, white, wealthy and out of touch with real people and stories, legacy companies need young, talented people to represent their brands and tell stories. 

Influencers will usher in a new form of news, told from every angle possible. That’s where most traditional media -- fixated on slow, expensive news-gathering and yesteryear formats -- fails. Bloggers have no pretense of neutrality, but the industry will acknowledge that this doesn't make their voice any less authentic.   

Why did you accept the role of being a UK Blog Awards industry judge and how many times have you judged for your industry?

Yusuf: I've assisted in judging numerous journalism awards and competitions around the world but this is my first in London. The UK Blog Awards represents an entirely new challenge for me because of the vast plethora of entries and styles of storytelling. 

What will you be looking for when assessing the shortlist to crown award winning content?

Yusuf: Good video blogging is at the intersection of suspense and engagement. That means storytelling that keeps me hooked for the next u but also focuses on the audience's involvement in the creative process. For me, half the merit is in the content, the rest is about how you share it and the conversations you start. 

Empathy is the other critical factor for me. Can a storyteller help me relate to another person's life? Can they teleport me into another world? 

Have you even won an industry award? If so, how has this helped you and what impact do you feel the UK Blog Awards will have on the industry?

Yusuf: In 2016, I won the Mobile Journalist of the Year at Mojocon in Ireland and a Ghostie Snapchat award in London at the Snaphappen event. 

It's not about the trophy, but the networking that happens at the event and the invites for other events that flows in afterwards. 

The U.K blog awards cements emerging platforms in realm of professional recognition. It's a critical stamp of approval at a time when traditional media is weaponizing terms like 'fake news' to discredit the social media superstars of our time. 

Finally, the theme for the 2017 UK Blog Awards is Heroes and Heroines. In your opinion what makes a true BlogHero?

Yusuf: As Uncle Ben said in Spiderman, with great power comes great responsibility. I think influencers must both entertain but also educate their followers, using social media for social good. I'd like to see bloggers who bring attention to social issues and offer constructive solutions.