Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Wesch introducing YouTube at the U.S. LoC

Billed as "an excellent backgrounder to social media, user-generated content, and online communities through the lens of anthropology" by Alec Couros (2008.08.03), this YouTube video resonates in a similar post by D'Arcy Norman (2008.08.06). The video represents a June 23, 2008, appearance of Professor Michael Wesch at a U.S. Library of Congress (LoC) podium to display and describe his and his students' findings from ethnological investigations into YouTube as participant observers (Wesch, 2008)

Wesch describes media such as YouTube as neither content, nor tools of communication, but rather as a landscape that mediates human relationships. He suggests that changes in "the mediascape" correspond to changes in human relations (approx. 12 of 55 minutes in), reflecting manifestations of participatory culture and networked individualism. Eschewing Powerpoint, he and his students remix dozens of independent video productions to portray a mediated state under tension between personal expression and social aspiration:
  • individualism and community,
  • independence and relationships, and
  • aggrandizement and authenticity.

"More info" in the YouTube sidebar provides a timeline for the video itself (Added: July 26, 2008). However, you've got to see the presentation to believe it!


Wesch, Michael (Dir.). (2008). An anthropological introduction to YouTube. Retrieved September 9, 2008, from http://youtube.com/watch?v=TPAO-lZ4_hU

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