MSVU Social Media Course Blog

Just another weblog

iTube, WeTube, we all scream for YouTube

Digital Ethnography @ Kansas State University has yet to update their blog, so I went back in time, to my birth month and found another YouTube related blog post from one of Prof. Wesch’s students, Becky.

Becky posted a blog titled “The Internet has a Face”. The blog post discussed her interest in vlogging as “meaningful interaction (with others) beyond the limits of text”. She produced a video compiled of some vlog videos that were posted to YouTube. She says her video was “created to explore the content and purpose of vlogs, as well as the networking and interconnectivity as users respond and reach out to each other within and beyond the YouTube website.”

Once upon a time people wrote in a diary, kept a journal, wrote a letter or phoned a friend. Today people are text messaging, video calling, blogging, tweeting , poking, writing on walls, nudging and emoticoning.

 Oh, and vlogging.

People are vlogging about very personal and private things and posting it to the Internet for the world to see. This at first might seem odd, but it’s working for them.

In class we regularly discuss the pros and cons of social media vs. face to face communication; a very worthy discussion. Becky takes our conversation a bit further; beyond the boardroom and rows of cubicles we will all eventually come to despise and focuses on the “YouTubers” themselves. She argues that the Internet is “no longer just text to text, the Internet has a face. The Internet has a heart. The internet has humanity. …with YouTube.”

The video is actually quite moving. I think that YouTube allows people to connect more than any other social media tool. It allows people to be real and express whatever it is they want, whether it’s humility, honesty, humor, compassion or love. And people are connecting. People are just being themselves, telling a story and other people are coming to support them and share with them. It’s actually quite powerful.

Becky says “if there was a fear that the internet was making society antisocial, vlogging would seek to prove otherwise.”

And I think she’s right.

June 9, 2009 - Posted by | Review of Monitored Site | , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Kim-

    The video almost made me bawl. Lol I’m freakin’ all choked up here and holding back the tears. I don’t know if it partly because of how hectic everything is with school right now or an example of how powerful an impact video, music and imagery can have upon a person. I’m behind on my posts, had to miss the amazing guest speakers that you are all raving about due to interviews and frankly was feeling a little like I suck at this social media thing. Then I watched the video in your post. The music was inspiring, the people real and genuine. The ability to hear tone and see their expression allowed me to relate to them and, as cheesy as it sounds, I felt encouraged to keep trudging on.

    I laughed at the older gentleman who was swearing his head off, but his vulgar language emanated his true personality. His comment about vlogging and YouTube being a “big f-ing experiment” is so true and we really are all learning from each other. I think that’s when I stopped feeling sorry for myself and realized that there is a very alive virtual community out there, willing to share ideas, knowledge and experiences, both professional and personal. So, I may not be a web 2.0 guru, but I’m learning, and have a whole community of experts available to me. Becky had it right when she said vlogging works against making society antisocial. I consider myself a very social person. I love engaging and meeting new people, but I also think I was approaching the blogosphere in a socially awkward way. I really wasn’t relating to bloggers as people. I mean, I knew there was a person behind the computer screen somewhere, but without a face, tone or content I couldn’t relate to them to in the same way I could face-to-face. I absolutely agree, YouTube and vlogging brings in a more human element.


    Comment by hollyfleming | June 14, 2009 | Reply

  2. Wow.

    The first time I ever saw YouTube I was 18, I think it was a bigger hit in the US before it was here, and my boyfriend and his friends were watching the now famous YouTube Numa Numa video. I kind of rolled my eyes and laughed along, not thinking anything of significant impact could ever come from people having the ability to videotape their spare time and post it for the world to see. I admit I was wrong now.

    When I think about the impact YouTube and vlogging and Skype and video chatting, etc can have on the world I am absolutely blown away. Last year my grandmother passed away. She was my grandfather’s world in absolutely every way imaginable. She had been sick for a long time and he spent his entire life catering to her every whim, doing everything he could to help her, make her more comfortable, show her that he loved her more than the world was capable of understanding. He loved her with every fiber of his entire being in a way that is incomprehensible to me, despite the fact that I myself am married. His love for her was cultivated and nurtured over 50 years and is something I strive to emulate with my husband every day of my life. I only go into such intimate detail because its important you understand the impact she had in order to understand how absolutely astounding it is that this type of social media was able to help him heal. When she died, not only was my family devastated about losing her but we were completely terrified of what it would do to him. He had spent the better part of 10 years simply caring for her and the better part of 50 with her by his side as his completing half. The only family around him are me and my husband and we are busy with school and work and building a life for ourselves so its impossible for us to be there for him 24/7. Otherwise he was completely alone in the same big house they had raised their three children and built their life together in. After he moved into another house, Papa set himself up with a webcam and became an active part of the online community. Keep in mind he is 75 years old, yet he was meeting people who shared in his grief and finding comfort. He began talking, grieving, crying and feeling through her death with an online support group that helped him make sense of life alone for the first time in 50 years. All of a sudden he wasn’t alone in his new big house, he had an entire cyberspace of friends who were there for him whenever he needed someone or was having a dark day. When Ryan or I couldn’t be there because we had previous obligations he had someone who could be there. Obviously vlogging and video chatting didn’t heal his, quite literally broken heart on its own, but it really helped. It impacted his life intensely. So it impacted my life intensely. And my mom’s life. And my uncles’ lives. And the cool thing is he was able to impact someone else’s life intensely too with his story.

    I absolutely believe that vlogging gives the internet a face, a whole slew of faces. Absolutely.

    Comment by deehopkins | June 15, 2009 | Reply

  3. Dee,

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. Some might find it hard to believe that your grandfather (a 75 year old man)would use a webcam. I truly believe that the adoption of these “new” tools or technology has to do with MOTIVATION. Anyone (no matter their age, or personal interests)will find a way to use new technologies IF it makes sense to them and their lives.

    Your story is inspiring, again I thank you for your comment.



    Comment by kbslice | June 15, 2009 | Reply

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