The Rode VideoMic Pro is a result of today’s digital media landscape. It is specially related to the notion of content creation in the digital era and symbolizes meaningful landmarks in the history of user-generated content. Famous amongst content creators, the microphone is marketed with offering “broadcast-quality audio” and “minimized surrounding audio, with the recording focused on the subject in front of the camera” (Rode, 2022). With a minimal set of features, the microphone lets users control the sensitivity by either an increase of 20dB or a decrease of 10dB.

Microphones have existed for centuries. From their early use in telephones and radio broadcasts, mics have evolved into many different variations (Eargle, 2001). Nowadays, they are ubiquitous; phones, portable computers, tablets, virtual assistants, toys and videogame consoles, among others, all come with microphones. This, paired with the fact that currently everyone has access to a camera in the form of a smartphone (more specifically, 6259 millions of people globally) has democratized the activity of “content creation”. With newly increased ease for creating comes a higher amount and output of content. With more content, comes more consumption. 

unending consumption: content never stops

YouTube’s growth has been fast and steady. (Source: Statista)

As of February 2020, 500 hours of video were uploaded every minute to YouTube (Statista, 2022). Considering that YouTube is only one of the many social media platforms in which video is the key component, we can see how the incessant and ever-expanding sharing of media by individuals as well as corporations (which has been deemed “content”) is even more unfathomable if we start taking into account the likes of TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat and others. But this increasing amount of accesible content is not only found in the form of video; the same applies to other kinds of media, such as music, images or podcasts. Extrapolating Arditi’s (2018) comments on digital music to digital media more broadly, it is easy to see how digital media provide the opportunity to overcome some of the limitations of physical media by broadening access to them and by allowing multilateral communication processes. After all, the shift from unilateral communication from corporations to readers towards a more user-inclusive multilateral relationship in terms of content creation was – and is – what defines “web 2.0”, in which we are now fully immersed (Alexander & Levine, 2008). Since we now always have something to watch or listen to, we find ourselves consuming content more than ever. Thus, it is estimated that “the average daily social media usage of internet users worldwide amounted to 145 minutes per day in 2020” (Statista, 2022). This figure keeps fluctuating on an upward trend year-over-year. As Arditi (2018) puts it, we have reached a state of “unending consumption”. “Unending consumption is the expansion of the means of consumption based on a subscription whereby an individual’s consumption becomes constant and consistent” (p. 304). This constant and consistent consumption is backed by a plethora of content, most of which is user-generated.

from participatory culture hub to established industry

In our current social media platforms, users are encouraged to take part in the creation and sharing process, rather than merely consuming. Thus, social media users operate in a “peer-to-peer” participatory culture (Jenkins, 2006 as cited by Duncum, 2011) and go beyond consumption by becoming “prosumers” (Duncum, 2011, p. 25). 

But prosumers do not create just for the sake of creating. During the 21st Century we have seen how the rise of new media has created new ways of monetization, opening up the possibility to even work as a content creator. The highly  populated and engaged user bases of these platforms have resulted in the creator economy.

The YouTuber Influencer Marketing Hub gives an insightful explanation about how we have reached the creator economy and what it implies.

Since Google bought YouTube in 2006 (Sweney & Johnson, 2006), the video platform has established itself as a key component of the tech giant, to such a great degree that it is considered by some almost an institution. Far from being the revolution that it once promised to be, YouTube has endured in a panorama of fierce competition by forging alliances with legacy and traditional media corporations and by engaging in some of the same practices (mainly those that concern advertisers) that those corporations have spearheaded for years (Kim, 2012, p. 55). With the institutionalization of YouTube and other social media platforms and with users having become prosumers, user-generated content has leaned towards homegeneization thanks to a variety of formulaic methods. There has been a transition: from user-generated content to professional-generated content (Kim, 2012, p. 58). This has happened in response to what the media industry wants from the social media platforms: “to provide an ad-friendly media environment that links content and advertisements smoothly. (…) Networks ‘formalized’ online video services into providing the same commercially interrupted viewing culture as TV” (Kim, 2012, p. 59). This establishment has also proliferated the creation of peripheral industries, such as those which sell tools and services for creators or the launch of production equipment for specific social media purposes, as is the case with this Rode VideoMic Pro. 

the rise of vlogging: new genres of video in social media

Although there has been some long-term homogeneization in the type of content that creators post, the many incentives provided by these platforms paired with the desire to stand out from the crowd have also led to innovation in the form of new types of video. Video essays, video reviews, study with me and unboxings are all newly popular pieces of media that people consume on a daily basis. This microphone, the Rode VideoMic Pro, was designed with one main purpose in mind: vlogging (term that refers to video blogging). Vloggers make short videos characterised by (usually) low production levels and unscripted daily actions. In most vlogs, viewers watch the subject of the video along “a day in the life”. Vlogs have become one of the most popular forms of digital entertainment, with milestones such as the year of vlogging by Casey Neistat, who uploaded one video blog every day to his YouTube channel for one full year.

Casey Neistat shares what are the keys for his vlogging style.

on-camera microphone: a symbol for 21st Century media

An object can be much more than a thing if we examine it closely. This microphone, the Rode VideoMic Pro, holds a significant position that speaks in different ways to the many changes seen in the media and entertainment industry during this first quarter of the 21st Century. It facilitates content creation for unending consumption and has become one of the favorite tools of all vloggers


Name: Rode VideoMic Pro

3D Model

Creator: Adrián Eduardo Humanes Vegazo

Date: 21-01-2022

Place: Maastricht, The Netherlands

Themes: Entertainment, Technology & Society

Captured with Fujifilm XT-30, Fujinon 27mm f/2.8, Sirui 7C tripod, lazy susan, lightbox, quick release shutter.

Processed with Agisoft Metashape Professional Software run on macOS Monterey 12.1


Physical Object

Size: 100mm x 75mm x 170mm

Weight: 85 g

Material: Plastic, foam & metal


Alexander, B. & Levine, A. (2008). Web 2.0 Storytelling: Emergence of a New Genre. Educause Review, vol. 43, no. 6.

Duncum, P. (2011). Youth on YouTube: Prosumers in a Peer-to-Peer Participatory Culture. The International Journal of Arts Education, 9(2). 24-37.

Eargle, John. (2001). The Microphone Book. Focal Press. Editorial. Early History of the Microphone. UGA Special Collections Library Online Exhibitions.

Kim, J. (2012). The institutionalization of YouTube: From user-generated content to professionally generated content. Media, Culture & Society, 34(1), 53-67.

Merges, R. P. (2008). The concept of property in the digital era. Houston Law Review , 45(4), 1239-1276.
Rode. (2022). Video Mic Pro. Compact Directional On-Camera Microphone. (Marketing material).
Statista. (2021). Annual growth of YouTube users worldwide from 2016 to 2021.,percent%20year%2Don%2Dyear

Statista. (2022). Daily time spent on social networking by internet users worldwide from 2012 to 2020.

Statista. (2022). Hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute as of February 2020.

Statista. (2022). Number of smartphone subscriptions worldwide from 2016 to 2027.

Sweney, M. & Johnson, B. (2006, October 9). Google buys YouTube for $1.65bn. The Guardian.