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The Halo Moment (Or, How I Learned To Get Over My Video Fears)


If you call yourself a geek in the slightest, chances are that you’ve been playing copious amounts of Halo:Reach over the last day or so. If you’re not a geek, allow me to explain. Halo:Reach is the final installment in one of the most popular video game franchises of all time. Oh, there may be more Halo games, but the developers have turned over the property, so this is the last game they’ll be doing, at least for a long time. For fans, it’s a big deal, and I’d be really surprised if this game doesn’t break all sorts of sales records.

To the point, Allison. Blogging tips, not video games!

Today, I wanted to talk a little about videos and how I used to be scared out of my mind to do them. (Still am, if we’re being honest.) Fear is a total buzzkill for bloggers, and although many say that they don’t do videos for any number of reasons (I don’t have a camera, I don’t know how to upload videos, I don’t have a good place to record them, etc, etc, bullcrap etc.), the real reason that most bloggers don’t do videos is that we’re scared of them.

It makes sense for bloggers to be uncomfortable at the prospect of recording videos. We spend most of our time behind a computer screen. Heck, there are some days that I don’t even put on pants (my apologies for any visual that notion has given you). People judge us by our thoughts and ideas, not by our looks, and that is extremely liberating. So, adding videos? Ugh.

Let me tell you a bit of a story, and the reason I started off this post talking about Halo.

Back when the Halo series was a lot younger, I used to play with three friends of mine. You can play Halo either online or locally, and we would just play locally because our Internet connection wasn’t really good enough for online play. It was a lot of fun, and since I was playing with friends, I felt comfortable and secure with my skills, even though they were all a lot better than me at the game.

Then, I started playing online a bit. I was able to get a connect that was good enough to play with people from around the world, and with my gender-neutral name and lack of girly customizations, I was just another one of the guys. Usually, I ended games middle of the pack – I wasn’t an outstanding player, but I also wasn’t a joke.

One weekend, my friends asked if I wanted to play with them in a tournament. My initial reaction was to say yes, but then I realized that I’d be meeting the other players face to face. That prospect intimidated me a little. Well…a lot. I was afraid that people would write me off as any kind of competition, just because I am female. I was afraid they’d laugh at me or roll their eyes every time I died. I knew then as I know now that I’m not, by far, the only female gamer in the world, but all the other girls seemed so good at Halo…and so pretty and so cool. I was self-conscious and afraid to take my gaming beyond the screen and into the real world. It was easier just to hide.

I ended up going to the tournament after all, and you know what? A few guys commented how it was nice to see a girl there (there were only two of us in the room I was playing in, out of 20-30 people total). Other than that, I was the same as I was behind the television screen – just another gamer. I’m guessing that some guys inwardly made fun of me or felt like I didn’t deserve to be there, but the general feeling I got from almost everyone was that we were just there to play the game.

And as I looked around, I realized that we all had things to be self-conscious about. While I was worried about being a girl, I’m sure other people in that room were feeling self-conscious about their weight or height or even skin color. We all have insecurities. So what? None of those things matter when playing a video game, and because we all showed up despite our insecurities, we had a total blast that day.

And for the record, I ended up middle of the pack again. So, that just went to show that people were playing with me in real life the same way they played with me online, where they probably assumed I was male.

I began to realize a few months ago that I was having a Halo Moment about posting videos on my various blogs. I’m self-conscious and insecure about my looks and voice, and I worry that readers will roll their eyes or not take me seriously. It’s easier to hide behind the computer screen and control what everyone sees by choosing what pictures of myself to post.

Do you need videos on your blog? No. Will they increase the value of your blog, help you find new readers, provide extra income opportunities, and just all-around show that you rock? Yes. Yes, they absolutely will. I was avoiding them for a long time, but the truth of the matter is that almost every blog out there could use a few videos.

So, a few weeks ago, I took the first step and ordered a Flip video camera. You all (well, most of you – I won’t speak for everyone) don’t care what I look like or what my voice sounds like. Neither do the readers of my other blogs. You care about my message.

I deleted the first video I made because I didn’t think I looked cool enough. That was a stupid Halo moment, because it was actually a decent video. It’s a process, learning to get over the fear of making videos for my blogs. I’ll get there, and hopefully have some videos to post in the coming months.

I hope you’ll take the first step with me by starting a fund today to buy the equipment you need to start making some videos. Or, if you already own even a crappy webcam, recording a few minutes to post on your blog.

At least track me down at BlogWorld and make a video with me. 🙂


  • Megan

    Hi Ali, Thanks for your post. I have been afraid too, and I know that is holding me back. although one of my videos has had 5000 views, but Im not in it.. http://community.webshots.com/dollshousedolls – dolltate gallery.
    I have several blogs. but right now I am toying with the cheapest and best way to get my blogs ranking high in google. do you have any tips? reading all this SEO doesn’t seem to work with blogs. esp blogger.com because you can’t get to change the meta tags or html headers. . (i believe wordpress is ok)
    I do have an unused website, (www.megamoneybox.org) but wondering whether to use that with a series of links.
    most of my work is “unnconnected” . I also havent been able to get other people to link to my blogs. although one was ranked high. (http://megamoneybox.blogspot.com)
    my blogs are in 3 categories. finance/sharetrading (which is too volatile for me at the moment) http://megamoneybox.blogspot.com + richkidspoorkids.blogpsot.com,
    climatechange,permaculture, frogs etc and http://permaculturevisions.com
    miniature/dolls/videos/cooking/poetry creative works..eg http://dollshousedolls.blogspot.com can you give me a few pointers please?

  • Connie Herzog

    Hi Alli,

    After reading your post I was thinking you probably looked like some evil being from Lord of the Rings or worse yet – me . I scroll to the bottom and see an attractive young lady. I’m not being weird or anything…just stating a fact. Ok, with that being said, I am currently writing/creating my own blog and wonder if I’m biting off more than I can chew. I am a computer savy 40-something, but this blog stuff is boggling up my savy mind. How many subjects can you blog about, before you over due it? I can’t seem to narrow it down to under five. i currently have an entire mish-mash of subject matter – neatly organized in topics with sub-topics. I plan to do video, but haven’t mastered how to do that yet.

    • Alli

      Aw, thanks, Connie. I think we all feel self-conscious sometimes, though!

      If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed and confused about your blog direction, I’m more than happy to talk to you one-on-one about it – I’m running free consultation for new writers right now on After Graduation, but am more than happy to talk to you specifically about blogging, not about general web content writing. Contact me through http://www.aftergraduation.net if you’re interested!

  • Marcie Hill

    Hi Alli, thanks for this. I have been avoiding video because I really don’t like attention. And I tend to turn into a formal newscaster as soon as I hit the record button instead of the funny and silly “Shorty.” I know Shorty will grow as soon as I add video but for some reason I think I have to have an “ideal” background which is probably extreme thinking. I’ll just keep practicing. But it’s great to know that I’m not alone.

  • Jendi

    I’ve really been enjoying your posts here and I’d love to make a video with you at Blog World? How do I find you?
    P.S. It would have been great to do this post on video. 🙂

  • Bill Murphy

    Hello Ali – I would have to agree that the fear of putting one’s face out there is probably the biggest issue i had as well. I have kep consistently producing video for 45 days now and i have to say that i enjoy it. I am not sure what the impact is for my blog but it certainly feels right. http://www.cioes.org

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