The YouTube affordance of auto-generated textual closed captions (CC) is valued by the YouTube algorithm, and therefore spoken words in vlogs can be strategically used to optimize and orient videos and channels for search. In their blog, YouTube suggests that complicity with their desire for rich and accurate CC is rewarded with algorithmic visibility (YouTube, 2017a). CC metadata are therefore an example of the significant degree of pressure for vloggers (video bloggers) on YouTube to optimize their content down to minutia of self-presentations. In this chapter I analyze the practice of highly visible beauty vloggers to conceptualize vlogging practices that contribute to algorithmically readable CC text. I term this labor vlogging parlance. Vlogging parlance includes keyword stuffing, defined as inserting often-searched-for keywords into speech. It also encompasses the strategic verbal expressions, language choice, speech pace, enunciation, and minimization of background noise by vloggers. Vlogging parlance can be thought of as a microcelebrity (Senft, 2008) technique, deployed to attract attention and visibility in an information-saturated online “attention economy,” a system of value in which often “money now flows along with attention” (Goldhaber, 1997). The call to optimize speech ultimately places responsibility onto creators to ensure their videos can become visible, while assisting YouTube in developing search accuracy for their viewers. Furthermore, the Western-centric language affordances of CC, and the high valuation of English on the YouTube platform, are used as examples of how social media platforms can underserve differently abled and non-English speaking audiences.
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