Reaction post to: “An Anthropological Introduction to Youtube” by Michael Wesch
My first thought when I clicked on the link: It’s a Youtube video so this will probably just take a few minu….55 minutes! Ohhh! I didn’t know you could load hour long videos onto Youtube. How long would that take to upload? This will have to wait until Saturday….
So now that it’s Saturday and I’ve had some time to watch, and think about the video here are my thoughts:
I found the issue of authenticity very interesting. Many people replied with anger toward lonelygirl and her producers, which is understandable, especially for those ‘out there’ who had watched her videos and felt genuine sympathy for her situation and who may have even offered her support or console. To find out that the person you’ve been trying to help has been perfectly fine and just stringing you along would cause issues of trust. Who can I trust in the online community? But at the same time, it brought an important point to the Youtube community- even through user generated media, you can pretend, you can act, you can be the person you always wanted to be, or you can try on various hats just for the fun of it. User generated videos are no different than hollywood videos (aside from the lack of budget), we can give the world a sitcom or we can produce reality t.v. As viewers/consumers we need to always be critical. Isn’t that what we learn in university; don’t just accept the things you read, or the things you watch as the truth. We must always be questioning and critiquing what we consume. The same applies to Youtube.
Michael Wesch’s interpretation of the the crass comments found on Youtube is very different from anything I’ve heard before. He interprets these comments as people feeling social freedom, and that they make such comments because they feel free from any repercussion. This is probably true, but it’s also sort of sad. If these people wouldn’t say such things, or be so mean to someone’s face, why do it on Youtube?
The issue of crass comments, and the issue of masking identity without being upfront about it leaves me with a big question. What is the moral norm for Youtube and for posting on the internet? Is there any sort of socially accepted behaviour for the net? Are there things done on the net that most people would agree are socially unacceptable? It seems to me that a lot more is accepted through the online culture than would be in my immediate culture. And I call it my immediate culture because where I am living (this is also affected by how I’ve been raised), the social norms, behaviours, and generally accepted way of being may be very different from another person’s. So someone else may come across something on Youtube that I would find inappropriate and they may not find it so at all, but rather consider the language or content perfectly acceptable based on the social norms for his/her immediate culture.
Hmm… does that mean that within the online community we all succumb to the lowest common denominator of morals? Or do we all transfer our own set of morals to the online community, ignoring what does not fit within our moral parameters?