Digital Ethnography of YouTube project

An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube
by Michael Wesch
and the Digital Ethnography Working Group

Presentation at the Library of Congress, June 23rd 2008. This was tons of fun to present. I decided to forgo the PowerPoint and instead worked with students to prepare over 40 minutes of video for the 55 minute presentation.

Introduction to the YouTube Project
by Michael Wesch
March 9th 2007

This video was created to introduce ourselves to the YouTube community, thereby launching our YouTube ethnographic project. Though research is ongoing, the project was originally designed as a class project for the Spring '07 semester of ANTH 522: Digital Ethnography. Though we have worked very closely together, each student was ultimately responsible for their own short (3-5 minute) video ethnography of some aspect of the YouTube community. Some of the videos created by the students are featured below.

The History of YouTube
by Robert Hinderliter, Class of '07
May 18th 2007

"YouTube.com is just over two years old, and it is already the fourth most visited website in the world. I wanted to find out how YouTube became so immensely popular in such a short period of time. Also, I wanted to know how the three young founders of YouTube managed to turn such a simple idea into a billion-dollar company. And, finally, I wanted to know what this had to do with the users of YouTube, the people who have used the site to form a community that provides them with entertainment, friendship, and support. In searching for the answers to these questions, I learned a great deal about the history of YouTube. My video attempts to present the answers I found. I have included the script from my video here, along with references."

more ...

Reasons "Why We Tube"
by Seiji Ikeda, Class of '07
October 7th 2007

A video exploring and summarizing the original 370 responses that "boh3m3" received to the question, "Why do you Tube?"

Acoustic Space
by Adam Bohannon, Class of '07
June 6th 2007

... a work in progress, "The vision for my video was to represent how literate culture has produced a world that has for centuries disconnected and fragmented itself based on the use of the primary medium of the written word. We’ve manifested a world with boundaries and units and this can be seen in not only the various forms of technology we’ve produced, but even in how these technologies are created (i.e. assembly line, etc.). Electronic technology is abolishing these previous boundaries by creating a world akin to the acoustic space mentioned by Marshall McLuhan and Edmund Carpenter; a world of resonating information that goes completely around us. Boundaries dissolve because information is everywhere at once and it no longer strictly obeys the linear nature implicit in the technologies of literate culture." ... more ...

Authenticity on the Tube
by Becky Roth, Class of '07
May 22nd 2007

This video is a compilation of videos used to discuss authenticity on YouTube, ultimately focusing on LonelyGirl15. LonelyGirl15 is an example of authenticity or lack thereof, as her vlogs helped shape how vloggers define the difference between authentic and inauthentic, even as vloggers claiming LonelyGirl15 as inauthentic are also creating new identities, enviroments, and so forth. We are all creative producers, producing ourselves in new ways and manipulating our identities and social positions through our creative acts.

Read the blog entry on this video ...

YouTube Popularity
by Lee Redlingshafer, Class of '07
August 1st 2007

A study of popularity on YouTube.

Spreading Ideas - Politics on YouTube
by Curtis Schwieterman, Class of '07
June 7th 2007

"As has been seen in previous videos, it shows that in many vlogs people are selling themselves, but what drew my curiosities mid semester was the selling and spreading of ideas on YouTube. My initial direction involved the religious ideological movements on YouTube, but as the current 2008 presidential campaign blossomed, it changed my focus on the spreading of ideas. In this video, I have provided my most recent draft which looks at the use of YouTube in political campaigning. Through time, the mediums used for the spread of political and ideological beliefs have changed. Through speeches, monuments, paintings, radio and many others, the primary in effect prior to the creation of YouTube was television. In the short video, I show some of the shifts in methods and relationships in campaigns." ... more ...

A Global Community
by Adam Monroe, Class of '07
June 6th 2007

"Through its servers and bandwidth, Youtube has created a global forum where anyone with internet access can communicate with anyone else face to face across any distance. There are a vast commuity of members who communicate regularly from all corners of the Earth. Together they are collectively laughing, celebrating, relating, and marveling across many boundaries. This new form of communication has created global movements that connect people. The Free-Hugs Campaign is an example of this. It was started by one man, named Juan Mann, in Sydney Australia. Since posted on youtube it has received responses from many different countries and similar campaigns have also been started because of it. Ultimately this tool allows a new level of personality while relieving geographic boundaries." ... more


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