By Any Media Necessary: Mapping Youth and Participatory Politics

Confessional / direct address

With the advent of personal webcams and the development of video sharing networks, the confessional/direct address style has greatly developed. In traditional filmmaking practices, directly addressing (or even looking into) the camera was highly discouraged, as it was thought to disrupts the audience's "suspension of disbelief" or immersion into the film's storyworld. Directly addressing the camera was sanctioned only for news programs in which the reporter looked into the camera to give a sense of proximity to the audience, as if they were talking directly to the television viewer at home.

This sense of intimacy and direct conversation continues to be the underlying effect, and often intent, of making direct address or confessional videos.  The image of someone at their computer mirrors that of the audience member, creating an illusion of direct, simultaneous conversation. Though in reality they often act as video letters that are exchanged back and forth amongst groups and individuals. 

The Harry Potter Alliance in particular often broadcast their group video chats around discussions or have individual channels set up to address the general public as well as respond to each others' previous posts. The "How to Change World" video for example shows one member Lauren responding to Julian's video post about the importance of voting. Her video develops his discussion by adding further logical arguments about the role of communication and community building as part of the voting process. Additionally, at the end of the video she elicits viewers to submit their own videos to add their voices to the conversation.

Similarly, Hank and John Green (the Vlog Brothers) respond to each other about important topics but often with a more educational twist, relating to science and history. John's "Revolution in Egypt: A 4-Minute Introduction" is in response to his brother Hank, but focuses on developing a factual backstory to a topical political situation more so than delivering a personal confession or opinion.

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