You Need to Watch This
Dr. Michael Wesch is the guy behind “The Machine is Us/ing us” video. His recent presentation to the Library of Congress entitled “An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube,” is now available on video. If you have seen any of Dr. Wesch’s other presentations, you know that he both deeply understands new media and its impact on the world’s cultures, and has a gift for communicating that understanding in compelling and engaging ways. This presentation is no exception.
Wesch points out that YouTube is much more than a technology. “It’s a social space built around video communication that is searchable, taggable and mashable,” Wesch says. “It is a space where identities, values and ideas are produced, reproduced, challenged and negotiated in new ways.”
Wesch covers a lot of ground in the hour long video. I’m not going to give a detailed summary here (I’ve included the time index from the YouTube page for reference below), but I highly recommend that you take some time (55 minutes 33 seconds to be exact) and watch it. You’ll be glad you did!
You may also want to check out Gavin Heaton’s very insightful post about this video.
Here is the time index:
0:00 Introduction, YouTube’s Big Numbers
2:00 Numa Numa and the Celebration of Webcams
5:53 The Machine is Us/ing Us and the New Mediascape
12:16 Introducing our Research Team
12:56 Who is on YouTube?
13:25 What’s on Youtube? Charlie Bit My Finger, Soulja Boy, etc.
17:04 5% of vids are personal vlogs addressed to the YouTube community, Why?
17:30 YouTube in context. The loss of community and “networked individualism” (Wellman)
18:41 Cultural Inversion: individualism and community
19:15 Understanding new forms of community through Participant Observation
21:18 YouTube as a medium for community
23:00 Our first vlogs
25:00 The webcam: Everybody is watching where nobody is (“context collapse”)
26:05 Re-cognition and new forms of self-awareness (McLuhan)
27:58 The Anonymity of Watching YouTube: Haters and Lovers
29:53 Aesthetic Arrest
30:25 Connection without Constraint
32:35 Free Hugs: A hero for our mediated culture
34:02 YouTube Drama: Striving for popularity
34:55 An early star: emokid21ohio
36:55 YouTube’s Anthenticity Crisis: the story of LonelyGirl15
39:50 Reflections on Authenticity
41:54 Gaming the system / Exposing the System
43:37 Seriously Playful Participatory Media Culture (featuring Us by blimvisible: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_yxHKg…
47:32 Networked Production: The Collab. MadV’s “The Message” and the message of YouTube
49:29 Poem: The Little Glass Dot, The Eyes of the World
51:15 Conclusion by bnessel1973
52:50 Dedication and Credits (Our Numa Numa dance)