Boing Boing: “Haul vloggers: young women videoblogging clothes and makeup they buy”. Above screen capture from ChanelBlueSatin

The Boing Boing post links back to Susannah Breslin’s personal blog which is not very informative. More information can be found about this phenomenon under the term “haul video”, “haul videos”, “mall haul” or “makeup haul”:

“Haul videos are the democratization of the home shopping network. They typically feature teen girls just back from the mall, shopping bag in hand, gushing over their purchases (or “haul”) to their webcam to be uploaded to YouTube for the world to see. […]A search for Haul at YouTube returns 105,000 videos. A spot check reveals that surprisingly few of these videos are for U-Haul or another unrelated topic. What more could a retailer ask for that enthusiastic, peer-to-peer endorsements of their shopping experiences? Retailers should be cultivating if not deliberately encouraging the creation of these videos.” (read more over at David Erikson’s blog)

Have the consumer buy form you, have the consumer work for you:

“On YouTube, there are a new set of viral videos called “Haul” videos. These are videos posted by everyday people talking about the stuff they bought on their most recent shopping spree. Some name each items with cost, some are just showing off the items they bought. Some people are showing off how much they saved. There are a few videos that get more then 200,000 viewers them. This could be a treasure trove for local businesses.” (A Guide to Haul Viral Videos)

A “haul” is a cargo. Thus “haul vloggers” could be understand as human carriers, loaded with objects, speaking about those things (or literaly through them, as in the screen capture above), existentialy concerned by all this equipment. Now two things about that :

1) In its general form, it’s not a new phenomenon. Thorstein Veblen coined the term “conspicuous consumption” back in 1899 in his book The Theory of the Leisure Classe. Veblen was a major inspiration for Baudrillard’s The Consumer Society (1970);

2) It will be a mistake to associate this phenomenon strictly with teen girls. We all brag to a certain degree about what we buy, may it be books, DVDs, CDs, tools, wine, etc. We may not do it in front of a camera, but we speak about it, we post about it, we tell friends about it (Marco Arment, the lead developer of Tumblr, is currently buying a new BMW). That maybe why some are thinking Blippy ―a kind of Twitter where you post about items you just bought― could become the next big thing (it launched last December).


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