I’ve been reposting YouTube in lieu of substantive writing for a while now, and I’m starting to wonder how long you’re going to let me get away with it.
It’s almost an hour long, but well worth the time. I found it to be deeply compelling. It’s a presentation by anthropologist Mike Wesch before the Library of Congress. (Mike Wesch is also the guy behind the now-famous Web 2.0 video, which is less about technology and more about how people use it.) It’s a discussion on both the culture of YouTube and YouTube’s effect on the culture.
About every couple of minutes I wanted to pause the thing and hammer out a post on what he was talking about, but I’ve already got over a dozen half-baked posts in the queue, on what is becoming an increasingly unfocused and schizophrenic site. If I branch out into amateur anthropology there will be no saving the place.
Besides, the last thing the world needs is more amateur anthropologists, recklessly anthropologizing all over the place without the proper education and training. I don’t know what the League of Anthropology does with renegades, but I’ll bet it isn’t pretty.
I will say that by the end of the video I had a strong urge to go make one of those, “Hi YouTube” videos, which is just strange. Recluse introvert that I am, I actually depend on text-based interaction to mitigate the psychological damage of interpersonal communications. Going all verbal and unedited is like playing with toxic waste without a hazmat suit: It makes me nervous when I’m doing it and I feel sick afterward. Hair loss may be involved. It’s not good for me.
The sensation of wanting to dive into YouTube is the interpersonal equivalent of vertigo. I’ve heard some people describe it as the sensation of being overcome by the perception of vertical distance. You see a huge drop, and have the desire to jump into it to close the distance. That’s not the normal definition used, but it’s an interesting idea. When viewing Wesch’s movie, I was suddenly overcome with the sensation of just how many people there are out there. Of course, we always know this, but like stepping into the Total Perspective Vortex, actually perceiving the scale of things can be very disorienting. To get a sense of all these people out there made me want to jump in and try to connect with them, simply because there are so many.
My favorite part? The 92 year old guy, singing a song about YouTube. He was born in 1916. He was 13 at the start of the great depression. He was 25 when the US entered WWII. He was 27 when the television network ABC was formed. The FCC approved color television the year he turned 37 – the age I am now. He started before the time of ubiquitous household electricity, and ended on the internet. Amazing.
(Dammit. I just did it again. I sat down, deciding to quickly repost a video so I could get back to my projects and get caught up. Here I am an hour and a half and over 500 words later. This internet thing is going to kill me.)
Anyway, hope you enjoy the video.
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