The Anthropology of YouTube

I personally find the examples given in this article quite uninspiring (even quaint), but the following quote from Clive Thompson’s look at the anthropology of YouTube is rather piquant:

What’s happening to video is like what happened to word processing. Back in the ’70s and early ’80s, publishing was a rarefied, expert job. Then Apple’s WYSIWYG interface made it drop-dead easy, enabling an explosion of weird new forms of micropublishing and zines. Laptop audio editing did the same thing, giving birth to the mashup and cut-and-paste subgenres of music. Then there’s photo manipulation, once a rarefied propaganda technique. Photoshop made it a folk art.

In a sense, you could argue that even after 100 years of moving pictures, we still don’t know what video is for. The sheer cost of creating it meant we used it for a stiflingly narrow set of purposes: news, documentaries, instructional presentations.

Now the lid is blowing off.

via Mind Hacks



2 responses to “The Anthropology of YouTube”

  1. Just found this through your new “Read a random article” feature.

    I think that this lecture: An anthropological introduction to YouTube, is awesome. There is some very in-depth discussion around some of the themes in this article. It’s definitely worth a watch, despite being 55mins long.

  2. Good to know that the feature is useful.

    I’ll check out the lecture and let you know my thoughts. Hopefully I’ll manage to do so on Wednesday as it’s a public holiday here in the Netherlands.

    Thanks Andy!