Dr. Michael Wesch of Kansas State University is doing what we love to talk about but with a more impressive definition... he is exploring and extending the possibilities of digital ethnography.
His below Library of Congress video presentation about “An anthropological introduction to YouTube” is worth your time. Since it is almost an hour long, below is the timeline to the relevant sections (with key parts in bold)
Watch his fascinating analysis of shifts in our society and culture - how user generated content / filtering / distribution is changing the way we create, find and share branded and unbranded info. The last part, which Michael calls User Generated Commentary (like Blogs) describes how "context" and relevant environments are the key to influence.
The last line made me pause to reflect the place that User Generated Media has in history:
"Some people say that the videos we create on YouTube should be created in hopes to change the world. I have made mine to help me live in it."
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
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)