Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Final Essay (draft)

YouTube is a video sharing web-site that has revolutionized the way we share information, share culture, and the way we communicate. Its users can view and upload videos. This allows for people to interact with the site in many ways. Users can just watch videos that are posted by others and not have to contribute anything to the site. The uploading feature on the other hand can allow registered users to add their own video’s to this large stock of already uploaded videos. This allows people to come and go to this online community as they please, whether it is just the occasional viewing of, or uploading of videos, or the hardcore user that does both as much as they can.

YouTube was created in 2005 by three men who where former employees of Pay Pal.(Rose 2008) Their names are Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim (Hopkins 2008). The men created the website because of the realization that video sharing was fairly difficult in the times before YouTube. It was created for anyone and everyone who had access to a computer and the internet, and that’s exactly who uses it. Previously statistics stated that the majority of the demographic are middle aged. Now recent research is saying that the age group is broadening (Donnell 2008). Of course not everyone has heard of YouTube or is interested in using it, but it is hard to point out a specific group of people who do use it. People from every demographic are involved, from the youngest, to the oldest, upper, middle, and lower class. Even companies and organizations use it.

YouTube was created for the purpose of video sharing, and now it provides many functions. One of the most obvious and popular functions is entertainment. People can get lost for hours viewing other’s videos. One of the features of YouTube is that you can search the site for whatever topic or subject you want. The search will bring up all of the videos that land under the key terms used to search. The feature that can get you stuck watching video after video is that when one is clicked on to view; other related videos will pop up underneath it. So, there is easy access to the videos that the user would find most interesting based on their previous selection. Some of the other functions entail art, advertising, communication, journalism (Professional and non-professional), Blogging, and online journals. Online journal sites like LiveJournal are becoming more and more popular, and YouTube can achieve the same kind of function, but with video. This allows for a more intimate and media rich involvement and it seems that being media rich is one of the most important aspects of this web 2.0 medium. The last function I want to mention is that YouTube can have a huge impact on our history. Many events and of the present and past are posted on this web site. I believe that since these videos are so much more accessible then they recently were it allows for more exposure to these events. These events would include everything from historic boxing matches to Dr. Martin Luther King speeches, and events like the Mumbai terror attacks that just recently happened in India.

YouTube has created a culture which keeps growing more and more every day. It may have started as just a quick way to upload and share videos, and a fun source of entertainment, but now it has a following. Many of the users know what the latest hit video is and even share its content with people who are not even in the YouTube community. People react to other videos by making their own and posting it, they also blog and leave comments about other videos. There are even awards given out every year to congratulate the best videos in several different categories (YouTube 2008). Some people even become somewhat famous from there videos, even appearing on shows like Late Night with Jay Lenno, and signing record deals. This is a pretty powerful tool. There has never been a way like the one YouTube provides that can allow you to make yourself famous. (Rose 2008)

YouTube’s success is based on its ability to grow and adapt with the ever changing internet environment. This is the characteristic that has allowed many things to be successful in changing environments, even humans and animals. The way YouTube does it is through its creators and overseer’s commitment to stay up to date and be flexible. It is also because of the one of the latest feature that allows its own community police itself. When joining the YouTube community and registering to upload videos to it, there is list of terms you must agree with before posting. If any of content that is posted that is unacceptable based on these guidelines, it is the community’s job to flag the video. This allows for the overseers to take action quicker to determine if it does indeed violate the terms. If it does then it is removed (YouTube 2008). Of course this does allow for some offensive content to be posted for short amount of time. Another element that makes YouTube so successful is that it allows you to connect with other web 2.0 technologies and in turn they can link back. It has links to MySpace and Facebook. So not only can people share videos with each other on YouTube, but they can have links to YouTube videos through their other social networking pages. So even people who are not persistent YouTube users can still be exposed to the YouTube world. This YouTube culture is growing right along with the internet, and is proving to be rather dominant.

Based on the popularity and success YouTube it seems safe to assume that there are many benefits that go along with this new technology. What I believe is the most important benefit of YouTube is that it has a powerful ability to bring people from all over the world together and expose each other to foreign cultures. For example, in my recent research I have seen many things that I would have probably not ever had a chance to see in my life. I watched a video called “Bus Uncle”. It shows two oriental men arguing on a bus. This may not seem important at first, and even though it’s just an argument, it is interesting to see how other cultures interact with each other, and what kind of things they value. We can learn a lot from other cultures and YouTube is full of these lessons. It is not just people in the U.S posting these videos; it’s people from all around the world. Another important benefit is that some things you have to see to believe or to understand. People say a picture says a thousand words, so how many does a video? Some things are just hard to explain and even more than that, some people have a hard time understanding things without being able to see it. A simple example of this would be trying to explain to a child how to tie their shoe. It would prove to be much easier to just show them. Another extremely important benefit of YouTube is that it is becoming another way to get the news without the bias of Mainstream media. Before technologies like this one we depended mostly on the gatekeepers on the dominant news channels, where it was on T.V or in Newspapers. Now we are able to see things from around the world from other people’s views, and even things we would have never been able to see in the News. The last and maybe most obvious benefit I want to bring up is the fact that now videos are much easier to share with people. If you live far away from someone you are trying to share a video with them, instead of sending a hard copy to someone, or sending it through an email and hoping they have a video player that will play the same type of video you took, you can now be much more efficient with this process.

Although YouTube has many benefits there are some negative implications. The first one is something that I mentioned earlier, and entails inappropriate content on this site. People complain that because of the way that YouTube polices its site, offensive, graphic, harmful, and sometimes malicious content is able to be posted on the site for usually short amount of time (Lang 2007). The problem people are having is that they don’t care how long it is there for; it’s the fact that it can even have the opportunity to be there at all. Their opinion is that the damage has already been done once it is shown. People’s reputations can be ruined instantly. Also rumors can be spread at alarming rates. Another complaint that I have heard about through my own investigation is that people can post videos of you without you even knowing. Some of the people that I have spoken with recently stated that they have had videos posted of themselves on the internet that portrayed them in an unfavorable light. They also stated they didn’t find out about it for a fairly long amount of time. The next major downfall with YouTube is its problem with copyright infringement. Many people have complained that YouTube allows for people to violate these laws too easily. People post T.V Shows, movie clips, music, and many other copyright protected content. Even though YouTube has taken steps to try to avoid this it still happens. The first thing YouTube tried was to set a ten minute limit to video posts, since many of the ones that where longer contained this type of content. The next step they took was to create a database that contained copyrighted content that could be checked against videos that were being uploaded. In reaction to these complaints YouTube says that their stagey for policing is the best that they can come up with and actually is very effective. Compared to the amount of videos posted on YouTube, the ones that violate terms are miniscule, and are usually taken care of promptly. The last negative implication I want to mention is that, due to not only some of these problems above, but the revealing nature of these videos, YouTube is actually blocked or filtered in some countries. It proves to be a dilemma that something that has such a strong power to bring people together can on the other hand tare them apart.

In conclusion, YouTube has proven its strength and popularity and seems to have a good chance of sticking around for a long time. It has already left its mark in history and will continue to do so as long as we have a need for this type of web 2.0 technology. It is this type of ingenuity that has brought the people closer together and flattened out world. To think, in 2007 YouTube took up as much bandwidth as the entire internet did in 2000, and even though it wasn’t that long ago, it actually seems hard to imagine a time when we didn’t have this luxury. (Carter 2007)

Hopkins, Jim. (2008, December 2) Surprise! There's a third YouTube co-founder. USA Today. Retrieved from

(2008, December 1) YouTube Community Guide lines. Retrieved from

Carter, Lewis. (2009, December 3) Web could collapse as video demand soars. Daily Telegraph
Retrieved from on.

(2008, December 1) YouTube 2007 Awards. Retrieved from

Rose, Charlie. (2009, December 3). Charlie Rose - Preview of interview with YouTube Co-founders [Video file]. Video posted to

SO’Donnell, Gibson, K. Milliken, M. Singer, J.(2008). Reacting to YouTube Videos: Exploring Differences Among User Groups. NRC-CNRC. Retrieved from

Lang, Pg. Fellow, P. Tampa, P.(2007). Commenting on comments: Investigating responses to antagonism on YouTube. Retrieved from

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

November 24's reading

November 24, 2008’s reading for com 430z was titled “Fitting our Tools to a Small World” by Clay Skirky, which was published in 2008, in the ninth chapter of the book Here comes everybody: The power of organizing without organizations.

The main ideas of this chapter were about the new tools that are creating more support for social networking and how important social capital is. Some of the tools mentioned are; Myspace, Facebook, LiveJournal, Xanga, and dodgeball. These new FOAF (friend of a friend) networking tools are described as helping us with this new way of looking at social networks. He breaks down some new studies and theories on how and why social networks start, and how some can become so large and important. In the conclusion the author explains how these networks can help us in life, and in work. I have to agree it seems to me that the more people you know the better off you are. For instance, I am good friends with a mechanic so I don’t have to give an arm and leg every time I need my car fixed, or just want some advice with car trouble. Also, my brother is a carpenter so when I need something fixed in my house the same thing applies. So I can imagine if I knew politicians, famous actors, or any other kind of people with special talents, power, and influences. I would also like to add that most people find jobs through their friends and acquaintances. The more of friends and acquaintances, the more of a selection you will have in choosing your careers, or jobs.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Nov 12ths reading

November 12, 2008’s reading for com 430z was titled “Shout into the wind, and it shouts back.” by Lori Kendall, which was published in 2007, online in First Monday, volume 12, under Identity and interactional tensions on LiveJournal. This was retrieved on August 21, 2008 from http:/

This reading was about a weblogging system called LiveJournal. The name basically spells out what this system is intended for, which is online journals. This system also contains built-in social networking features. In this reading the author explains her hands-on research of LiveJournal and many of the concerns and problems that can occur with this technology. The first problem that she brings up is that Journals are originally supposed to be private. When they are put online, this isn’t the case anymore. Even know not everybody can gain access to your journal the main idea around LiveJournal is that information can be made public. So a problem occurs when people want privacy, but still would like some kind of feedback from an audience. The next problem that occurs is that: in life most people keep friend and family networks separated to some degree. Form Lori’s experience and research many people’s networks were colliding leaving the person in the middle not able to show their different sides to the different networks. A good example of this would be that most people don’t speak to their mother the way they speak to their friends. Another problem that LiveJournal runs into is that people can use built-in features to filter what information is accessible to whom. This can obviously help out with privacy issues, but it can also hinder connections between people. The last problem the author brings up is that people want comments from others, but most people don’t comment on many issues, usually just trivial issues.
Her thought on this is that people don’t want to be seen in a different light then the one they are portraying on LiveJournal, and taking a side or giving a piece of mind might do exactly that.

Essay, Blogging @merica

My assignment for com340z was to find a blog that I was interested in and then participate in it. I chose a blog called The Movie Blog. I watch a lot of movies and I would like to get into the entertainment business one day, so this is something I thought I could relate to. On The Movie Blog there is a list of articles that deal with the latest news in the film business. This usually includes movies, actors, directors, producers, and many other topics like these. The only thing you need to be able to blog on this site is a username and an e-mail address.

I want to relate my blogging experience on The Movie Blog to something that I have studied in my com340z class. I chose the chapter titled “The Blogs in Society” in Aaron Barlow’s book, Blogging @merica. In the summary that I previously wrote I spoke about two perspectives that Barlow mentioned in this chapter. From my experience with The Movie Blog I see a little of both of these perspectives showing through. The first being that blogging is basically useless and is not even relevant in the real world, and the second being that the blogging community is a real world, and maybe even more real than the one we live in.

I recently wrote an essay on my previous blogging experience, which consisted of me following a blog and analyzing what I was witnessing. The difference between the last project and this one is that this time I was actually involved in the blogging. I got to post my own ideas and really get a good feel on how blogging worked. In Barlow’s book he mentions that studying blogging and being involved in blogging are two different things. I have to agree with him for the most part. Some of the things that I noticed before, when I was just observing the blogs, still held true when I was participating. But I have to admit I would never have understood it the way I do now if I had not participated. I would say that holds true for many other situations. You never really know about something until you try it yourself.

The first prospective I want to talk about states that blogging is basically useless and is not even relevant in the real world. I see how people can say something like this. On The Movie Blog I really didn’t know who anyone was. I feel like I got to know them a little, and I know the longer I stayed on the more I could figure out, but I still don’t really know them. Even if I was friends with some of the people outside of the blog, there were still people who just stumbled across the blog, or that only visited it once in awhile. My point is that in a blog like the one I was evolved in, there is a sense that nothing is what it seems. People can be whoever they want on this blog, and more importantly say whatever they want, and this can make the whole interaction feel kind of false. Barlow mentions this feeling of false interaction, and then explains how people can use this anonymous interaction to spoil relevant conversation. I did experience comments like these. Although none of them were malicious like the one’s Barlow spoke about, I can see how people’s false statements and rumors could be passed around as the truth very easily on this blog.

The other side of this argument states that the blogging community is necessary and is a real world, and maybe even more real than the one we live in. Barlow brings up the fact that much of blogging is done between people who would not be considered gatekeepers, and this is a good way for our world to grow. Gatekeepers choose the types of information that gets let out into the public. When we can find a way around gatekeepers, we get to talk about things that we would have never heard about. Now with my blog it is not as detrimental that we make our way through gatekeepers then say, talking about things in government that the government doesn’t want us to talk about, but it still is important. My blog is about the entertainment business, but it is still good that we can talk about the issues that we want to. Some of the topics we talked about weren’t mainstream, but were things I really found interesting. Even know the articles that we talked about were picked by people, I still didn’t feel like they were forced topics, and like I said they weren’t really things I had heard about anywhere else.

In the end I think that both sides of these arguments have good points. I have to side with the fact that blogging is important. I think anything that brings people together is important. I also do agree that there is a large amount of blogging that is useless and downright annoying, but if I had to chose to get ride of blogging or keep it based on what I have learned so far, I would diffidently choose to keep it. This is a very important public sphere and is a rather new phenomenon and may prove to be much more important than we could ever imagine.

Barlow, Aaron. (2008). Blogging America. Westport, CT: Praeger

Monday, November 10, 2008

7th day

Today is my 7th day on the movie blog. Over the weekend I didn’t post anything, but I spent a good amount of time just reading the articles and other people’s reactions. I am really starting to get a good feel for this site and a good idea of how blogging works. I feel more comfortable with what I am doing now, and I am sure the more I do this the more comfortable I will get. I also have a feeling I might be visiting the movie blog and maybe even posting after this assignment is done.

Today I posted about the new Sherlock Holmes movie coming out. I mostly focused on the fact that Robert Downey Jr. was playing in it. I was going to post on the top article about Batman, but by the time I was ready to do so everyone had basically said what I wanted to say, so I didn’t feel like I would have been contributing.

Friday, November 7, 2008

4th day

Today I was going to post a comment directed towards someone, but I saw a chance to be the first one to blog on a new story so I did it. This way I will be able to follow the interactions better. I hate leaving a comment after 30 people have already spoken their mind. This way I may have a better chance of somebody reacting to what I say. I also want to bring up that some responded to one of my comments. They said “NO”. It was the answer to a question whether or not I was making sense. It kind of made me feel stupid for a second.

I want to note that maybe I am blogging differently because for one, this activity is forced and not something I wanted to do, and also I have read so much about blogging that I am thinking into it too much. I keep trying to make sure I stay within the rules of blogging, and I have a feeling the more I think about it the less I achieve that.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

3rd day

Today I blogged on an article about Russell Brand. I also checked to see if anyone had commented on anything I have said so far, and it seems like I am the last person to post a comment for the two I have done already. I have a feeling I am talking about topics a little too late. I also have a feeling that some of these people realize I am a newcomer. Something I noticed, is the most of the comments were posted by the same people. I think next time I may try to post a comment directed towards one of these people.