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An anthropological introduction to YouTube

This is a presentation given by Mike Wesch, Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Kansas State University, at the Library of Congress on June 23, 2008. He decided to forgo the standard PowerPoint presentation and instead worked with his students to prepare over 40 minutes of video for the 55-minute presentation. This is the result.

It’s interesting and highly entertaining to watch, and might give some people who support draconian copyright regimes reason to rethink their support.

  • 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)
  • 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)

For more info: http://mediatedcultures.net

Bill Larson
Bill Larson
Bill Larson is  is politically and socially active in the community. Bill is a member of the Friends of Dunbar Cave. You can reach him via telephone at 931-249-0043 or via the email address below.

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