Wednesday, March 4, 2009

An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube

Michael Wesch’s presentation and online film, An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube, at the Library of Congress in May 2008, focuses on how we as the generation of Web 2.0, connect with the world differently due to new media such as YouTube.

With 9232 hours of video uploaded daily, it is no surprise this YouTube phenomenon is not short-lived. It is a constantly thriving community that has been built by user-generated content, transcending both space and time. YouTube’s ability to create a platform where membership is not limited, and opinions and views are accepted, has constructed a community built on empowerment of the individual.

Wesch notes in the film that when media changes, human relationships change too. This statement especially stands out to me, because despite being an information and media studies student, I have always been wary and judgemental about new forms of social technology. I have always had the view that Web 2.0 social technologies further distance users from one another. After viewing this film however, Wesch has challenged me to reconsider my beliefs as he has exemplified through this film that YouTube does not distance people, but instead links and connects them in new and different ways.

This film touches on the question of authenticity within YouTube. One YouTube video host discussed that “YouTube is not for fake stuff, its for real stuff,” suggesting that lack of authenticity is condemned within the YouTube community. This quote has encouraged me to consider the way in which YouTube’s users and community members expect other’s identities to be genuine. However, one must consider each user’s intentions, and that individual users will be using YouTube for individual reasons. Some users will utilize YouTube as a means for self-awareness and identity by encouraging voyeuristic activity to occur, while other users simply use YouTube as a way for fun and excitement. I feel that both ways are acceptable, and what binds them together is the movement from a private to public sphere. Regardless of the user’s intentions, he or she has become part of a new form of community, which continues and will continue, to progress into the future.


Carrie B said...

Sorry I can't watch for 55 minutes. said...

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