Watching YouTube: Extraordinary Videos by Ordinary People
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An anonymous musician plays Pachelbel's Canon on the electric guitar in a clip that has been viewed over sixty million times. The Dramatic Gopher is viewed over sixteen million times, as is a severely inebriated David Hasselhoff attempting to eat a hamburger. Over 800 variations, parodies, and parodies-of-parodies are uploaded of Beyonce Knowles' Single Ladies dance. Tay Zonday sings Chocolate Rain in a video viewed almost forty million times and scores himself a record deal. Obama Girl enters the political arena with contributions such as I Got a Crush on Obama and gets coverage in mainstream news networks.
In Watching YouTube, Michael Strangelove provides a broad overview of the world of amateur online videos and the people who make them. Dr. Strangelove, the Governor General Literary Award-nominated author that Wired Magazine called a 'guru of Internet advertising,' describes how online digital video is both similar to and different from traditional home-movie-making and argues that we are moving into a post-television era characterized by mass participation.
Strangelove draws from television, film, cultural, and media studies to help define an entirely new field of research. Online practices of representation, confessional video diaries, gendered uses of amateur video, and debates over elections, religion, and armed conflicts make up the bulk of this groundbreaking study, which is supplemented by an online blog at strangelove.com/blog. An innovative and timely study, Watching YouTube raises questions about the future of cultural memory, identity, politics, warfare, and family life when everyday representational practices are altered by four billion cameras in the hands of ordinary people.
whole new genre of television shows such as Rich Bride, Poor Bride, Wedding SOS, and My Big Redneck Wedding have brought the semi-private domain of weddings and wedding planning into our living rooms. These shows focus on the particular personalities and desires of the bride and groom while underscoring the familiar patterns of people, places, and things that constitute the marriage rite. All the ‘actors’ are amateurs, ﬁlmed by a professional crew that produces a polished product according to the
and Harry. Their childhood memories are now the common property of the Internet community. These memories in and of themselves are happy and healthy. Yet now they are subject to appropriation, remixing, and manipulation. Harry and Charlie may be repeatedly reminded of their biting video for the rest of their lives, so the way the video is received and appropriated will be important to their sense of self. They face a future that is partially deﬁned by events of their childhood that have been
contradictions that must be acknowledged. Violent Women Young girls are harshly beating each other, ﬁlming the action, and uploading the videos to YouTube. One of the more infamous cases involved six female teens beating sixteen-year-old Victoria Lindsay in March 2008. There are hundreds of videos on YouTube that discuss the event. Amateur videographers have made videos that show the faces and names of the six and debate their actions. Girl-on-girl ﬁghting involves a complex and contradictory
covering the story of six teenage girls in Florida who had recorded their brutal attack of another girl and posted the video on YouTube. Stories like these put amateur videos in the news on a daily basis. With over 150 million videos hosted, the uses of YouTube expand with each passing week. Randomly exploring YouTube is like channel surﬁng through 100 million lives. A British playwright used YouTube to publish a video complaint that provided intimate details of her husband’s alleged terrible
When Ang set about exploring the reasons for the popularity of the American soap opera Dallas among Dutch women, she had to solicit responses from the audience. Because of the interactive structure of YouTube, the task of studying audience reception and tastes is somewhat Introduction 13 simpliﬁed. YouTube allows viewers to submit comments to any video and even reply with a video of their own. Thus, we ﬁnd a rich collection of sociological and anthropological data strewn throughout YouTube,