Tuesday, February 26, 2008

YouTube and Blogging

I am sad to see that the YouTube video posted on this blog is no longer available. But I thought that would be a good segue into YouTube and blogging in general.

Traditionally (is that even possible in such a short time?) like most things on the early web, blogs consisted of text - an online written diary. Today, with fast internet connections, cheap webcams, YouTube, and free video software, the blog has morphed. Video blogs, or vlogs (everything on the Internet seems to get abbreviated?) are now everywhere. YouTube even blogs about itself in a video blog (see www.youtube.com/blog).

Most people know the story of lonelygirl15 (I won't recap it here - look it up on wikipedia!). After video blogging on YouTube for a while, lonleygirl15 was outed as a produced, fictitious character. Did this matter to her fans? Many blogs today are based on fictitious identities. But many people were upset (see http://tinyurl.com/2x5r5w). Does the fact that the blog is in video form make us more upset that we were cheated than a written blog would? Do we feel more connected to a video than to plain text on the screen?

In our class, we have been discussing whether the nature of the Internet has changed how we perceive our relationships with respect to our former purely "real world" relationships. I think the reaction to lonleygir15's bogus identity shows that even within the Internet, relationships have different meanings based on the medium.

But I am wandering away from the topic of blogging.... Bloggers create online identities for themselves, and the medium that they use to convey that personality has a significant impact on how they are perceived in the "real world." Video blogging has just added to the Internet a new layer of personality.


web difference said...

An interesting related development is the Hunter College scandal in which the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition (a group funded by fashion industry companies including Reebok, Levi Strauss, Abercrombie, and Chanel) sponsored a class at the college in which students created a blog designed to discourage other college students from purchasing knockoff products. The blog was designed to appear as if written by a single college student, Heidi Cee (a fictional name), who ends up with a counterfeit purse and subsequently launches a campaign against counterfeit products. The fictional blog established credibility and readership by detailing Heidi Cee's love life and fashion adventures, all of which were presented as true. And yes, there's even a fake YouTube video (search for "Break the Chain," posted by BTCHeidi).

web difference said...

Oops, got cut off. To finish the story, Heidi Cee's campaign against counterfeit products culminated in a public forum at Hunter College. Attendees received educational materials about the harmful effects of counterfeiting, courtesy of the IAAC.