An anthropological introduction to YouTube

Eric and I recently watched a 55 minute documentary on youtube by a professor at Kansas State University, Prof Michael Wesch, who teaches Digital Ethnography.  It is a video presentation he did at the Library of Congress this year.  Definitely well worth the hour!  We both found it really interesting.  I don’t care so much for the hype around youtube being almost a magical or spiritual experience but the whole idea of Cultural Inversion: individualism and community (etc) was really fascinating…that tension is so undeniable.  In our society we seem to hold tightly to our individualism, are fearful of commitment, accountability, responsibility, reliance upon someone or something…anyone or anything that will require something of us.  No wonder so many people are suffering from loneliness and isolation.  We sure do look for community or something “real” in strange places…and on our own terms.  I have to wonder with many others, however, is it true community when you’re able to log out whenever you like?

How terribly convenient.

So next time you have an hour set aside, I think this is worth your while.  It’s super fun and funny (!), interesting, well done, and relevant.

September 22nd, 2008

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  • 1. jon  |  September 23rd, 2008 at 6:47 am

    i’ll have to check that out. i was actually having a conversation today with someone right along those lines. thanks for blogging (i’m reading!)

  • 2. Leigh  |  November 9th, 2008 at 11:37 am

    more please.

  • 3. jenn  |  November 22nd, 2008 at 1:08 am

    does this make you feel better about all that youtube you watched???

    just teasing! :) love you!

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