Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Re: to "An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube"

There are not many days that pass by where I don’t happen upon a YouTube video. At times, for my own desire, but video links are more than often, sent to me. YouTube links are constantly being shared. You like what you see, and you pass it on to someone you think will appreciate it. So here is a link, from me to you: It is an "An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube”, and it is worth every 55 minutes and 33 seconds.
The video is made by Micheal Wesh, an Anthropology professor who successfully explores and deconstructs aspects of YouTube. He places immeasurable value on the social community it has created and describes it as a brand new outlet allowing for community, expression, and identity.
Youtube has the phenomenal, limitless ability to link the world in a far more personal way than anyone could ever have predicted, or even imagined. Michael explains that we are at the very center of this highly integrated mediascape that so heavily mediates our interactions, friendships and relationships. He explains that when the media changes, human relationships change. Today we are all heavily networked individuals (I know I don’t leave the house without my Blackberry, and at school, laptop.) The technology that surrounds us has simply become a part of the construct of our daily lives. Michael talks about video blogging, or vlogs as a form of expression that can generate both “naked hatred”, or the ability to “experience humanity without fear or anxiety”. You can watch someone’s vlog, stare them straight in the face and just listen. Vlogs allow for a sense of anonymity, physical distance, and rare and ephemeral dialogue (often in the form of VERY uncensored comments). YouTube is an unusual outlet that allows millions of people, anywhere in the world to collaborate –providing a platform to upload videos and a safe environment to watch others.

The video also touches on the idea of “authenticity crisis”. The act of forging an identity and playing out a false character is not welcome by many YouTube community members. To them, it is a place of genuine expression, a place that enables uncensored, honest release.
YouTube truly provides an escape from the confines of society in many senses. Whether to kill time watching, voice an opinion, get famous, make friends, ease pain, or, just laugh: YouTube is waiting for you.

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