Youtube Video: The Machine is Us/ing Us

Posted in The Gnovis Blog

This video may be a bit old, in “Web 2.0 Time,” but I felt that it was an important piece to share with readers of the gnovis blog, because it relates to a concept that so many people in media studies are talking about, but which is often poorly understood: Web 2.0.In just four and a half minutes (or maybe 13.5 minutes, since it’s worth watching at least thrice), this video covers the history and significance of XML and other Web 2.0 technologies, starting with the limitations of early HTML and touching everything from RSS feeds to Wikipedia. More significantly, it presents the material in a visual form so mesmerizing that you can’t help but enjoy it, even if you can’t follow all the details.Here’s the clip (I recommend cranking the volume, as the music helps set the tone and pace):
What I particularly love about the video is its source: Dr. Michael Wesch, Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Kansas State University and head of the Digital Ethnography Working Group, also at Kansas State. If ever there was a case for scholars embracing new media, Wesch’s exemplary work is it.On an interesting aside, Wesch also chose to take a commons/private hybrid approach to assembling this video, working on it entirely in the privacy of his home, but then posting a rough draft to YouTube for critique before releasing the final version. The rough draft, as it happens, became the link that caught on, receiving 3.5 million views, more than 10 times as many as the final draft (as of this posting, of course).