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Video | Media AWAKEN

An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube

My mom has recently discovered StumbleUpon Videos. She is enamored. And she likes to send me the videos too. Usually they are great, but long. I don’t know how she has the attention span for hour long videos. When she sent me “An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube” a few nights ago I was intrigued, but then I saw the time stamp: over 55 minutes. Normally I would have watched the first 2 minutes then moved on to something else. But as she was in the other room, and badgering me to watch the whole thing, I bit the bullet and did.

Wow. This video is incredible. Its about why people Tube, the community that has developed online, the changes in communication channels.. it shows messages of hope, of connection and of change. It attempts to explain the phenomena of internet stars and the self-regulating governance of people wanting real. Being in the middle of it all, I know that there is something major going on. I truly believe that there is a shift happening–a shift in how we relate, how we communicate–a shift in our humanity. One of the lines in the film that I tweeted was “youtube = freedom to experience humanity.” What do you think?

The video is of the presentation Dr. Michael Wesch, Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology and Digital Ethnography at Kansas State University,gave to the Library of Congress on June 23rd 2008. Dr. Wesch (@mwesch on Twitter) teaches a class at KSU called Digital Ethnography. Each semester his students and he study You Tube from an ethnographical perspective. For more information about Dr. Wesch and his class visit their site:

Here are some of the comments that have been left by YouTubers:
Joshlama: Watching this video has made me learn about what Web 2.0 means in todays society.

NatureLegalized: What a wonderful and encouraging presentation. Very good length as well. Quite honestly I was having a bit of trouble finding words to express how good the experience of having this video sent to me & watching it has been. I’ve got to make a point of thanking the sender.

ninjask1: what an amazing world this is, where we can transcend space to meet with people across the globe, a world where everyone is anonymous and nobody is anonymous, a world where the user controls the machine, a world where the user is the machine. What a place this is, to have everything and nothing, where the average man is stronger than corporations and governments, a world that is both endless and boundless.

I, of course, tweeted that I was watching the video and that it was great. My sister (@peckedbyducks) then responded “mom sent that to you too? Am watching it right now.” As it turns out, my mom had sent it to everyone.. literally. She had accidentally sent the link to every single contact in her address book–a fitting ending I thought…

So, here is the video. When you have 55 minutes to spare, you should check it out.

Post-It Notes - There’s a Note for That! Epic Change Style

Post-it Notes is holding a contest for original videos that feature Post-it Notes. Judges will pick the top ten, and then it is up to YOU the viewers to vote on your favorite. The winner gets $10K!

Epic Change (I wrote about them in a previous post) created a great video with the kids at a school in Tanzania. They used the Post-Its to say thank you to the donors that have helped fund the rebuilding and expansion of their school. Check it out!

[Voting begins September 12th. I will post a link here once I know where to direct people!]