Monday, December 1, 2008

YouTube- " The Web2.0 television of the new generation"

Have you ever forgotten how to change a flat tire or just needed to see a classic clip from your favorite TV show? Well, in recent years thanks to a popular video-sharing website called YouTube these worries have been easily resolved at the click of a mouse. In 2008, Alexa a web trafficking site ranked YouTube as the third most visited website on the Internet, behind search engines Yahoo! and Google. The pathway paved by YouTube within the Internet medium in its earlier stages where unheard of by any other website. It’s almost unbelievable that YouTube was just created some 3 years ago and has gone from a small collection of videos on a site to a prominent stake holder in the media arena. It seemed like it happened almost overnight when YouTube transformed itself into a television but what made it unique was that it was TV controlled by the you the user(hence the name YouTube). This idea of YouTube being like a television of the future was clearly transmitted in the sites choice of the mini television icon. However, the real distinctiveness of YouTube was that it was a place where someone could “broadcast themselves”. This new ability to view, post and comment on videos made by people from all around the world genuinely changed the face of the Internet forever. The emergence of this Web2.0 application opened up doors to an area of communication that no one has witnessed until now. Although just started in the winter of 05, YouTube has quickly taken the 21st century by storm and become a household name amongst many students, teachers, chefs, doctors, musicians, and countless others. So with YouTube becoming the go to website for almost any and everything, people feel they need to know more about the medium. Many fail to realize just how and why the medium has become so popular amongst our society today. These questions as well as others will be answered throughout this assignment to further highlight the popular website YouTube. The information researched will focus on the mediums history, who frequents the site, and its social implications. This research will hopefully give great insight into what the future holds for this every growing website.

YouTube sparked in late February of 2005 created by three PayPal website employees. Many popular media outlets reported the idea of the website came about when co-founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen found problems sharing videos with friends from a dinner party they attended one night. However, stories contradict this so- called “digestible” representation of the websites creation by the media, say the founders. In another story the 3rd co-founder Jawed Karim actually denies there was even a party in which the entire story was constructed around. With so many stories there appears to be no direct answer as to when the idea of YouTube was thought of but there is paperwork proving their 1st investment loans from venture capital firm Sequoia Capital in late 05. Sequoia was genuinely the element which took this idea from a simple thought to a reality by investing millions of dollars in to this early-stage company. In the beginning the company’s main base was located in a small space in San Mateo, California. Researchers have documented that the domain name was actually purchased and activated on February 15, 2005 prior to investments loans. From the very beginning YouTube grew rapidly, reportedly having more then 70,000 new videos uploaded daily by users nationwide. In just a few months it seemed like the company took off into a whorl wind bringing in any and everything within its grasp. In the early months of YouTube’s existence it managed to tackle a benchmark no other website had before them. Wikipedia reports that in 2007 YouTube had consumed as much bandwidth as the entire Internet combined. In the months to follow YouTube continued to surpass its predecessors catching the eye of popular public cooperation Google Inc. In late 2006 Google purchased YouTube from Hurley, Chen, and Karim for $1.65 billion in an all stock transaction. This deal received some of the greatest media attention because of the huge cash out by co- founders. In an article in Forbes magazines June issue it was projected the 2008 revenue of YouTube to be at an estimated $200 million. If the successful early stages of YouTube say anything about the future of the company then the possibilities are endless.

Now with some history of this popular video-sharing website the focus can be shifted to audience whom play a key role in making the site what it has become and aspires to be. Anyone can agree that any successful website needs viewers especially a site like YouTube which is based around the posting/sharing of videos amongst the audience. Although, when it comes to YouTube the task of pin pointing a specific audience demographic is quite difficult for a number a reasons. One reason in particular is the fact that the site is frequented by so many different types’ of people at any given time, as stated earlier. For instance a chef could be on YouTube searching for videos of recipes, while a teacher could be using it to find clips to better teach their topic discussed in class. Then are those who simply go on YouTube for entertainment purposes like watching music videos or visual blogs posted by members. In last two year the diversity of YouTube’s audience became especially visible when country specialized versions of the site were launched around the world in areas ranging from Japan to Germany. The launch of these sites inadvertently created an even greater communication link between people from opposite ends of the world. Now someone from Belgium could see what was going in Japan through the eyes of someone just like them. The YouTube phenomenon had created a visual communication bound between cultures without the restrictions of societal norms. However in some of these countries many government officials have attempted to place their own restrictions on the site, not allowing certain information they consider “harmful” to surface. There was one case where there were plans to launch a Turkish version of YouTube but founders decided not to when Turkey wanted to control everything that went up on the site. This caused YouTube to revoke its invitation claiming that they refuse to be censored by Turkish law. Besides crossing cultural, racial, and ethnic barriers by creating various sister sites nationwide YouTube has also had an impact on the age demographic. YouTube unlike any other Internet medium has managed to capture the attention of the youth as well as the elders all at the same time. In an article in a British magazine it was stated that “YouTube is replacing the radio as the "discovery medium" of choice for young consumers, according to the fourth annual Convergence Consumer Survey from media law firm Olswang”. This is a reality that is becoming true amongst more and more people whom frequent YouTube not just the youth. It seems with the emergence of YouTube people are looking for something that is real not including all the restrictions imposed by society. It seems that the main reason why this can occur so easily on this website is truly because of the diversity of the sites audience. If this site was restricted to strictly one specific demographic group it would ruin the medium indefinitely. It would also begin to look a lot like the television that we watch now, simply filled with bias and opinions of the majority. As stated earlier without the audience this website would be nothing. The audience is essential in this case without them there would be no one to post, view, or comment.

Besides the audience playing a key role in the success of YouTube a look at some of the social implications of the medium will be looked at as well. The fact that YouTube is such a huge medium really explains why it has such an abundant amount of implications. Of these one of the main cultural implications of the YouTube medium is the ability to break communication barriers between different cultures. As stated earlier this medium allows for people of different areas to share raw/realistic videos with one another quite simply. On the flip side these videos in return could bring some negative implications allowing for people to get false ideas about certain cultures they see on YouTube. This would probably cause people to create false stereotypes about other cultures based on a video which may have not been accurate in its representation. Besides these two cultural implications there are also democratic implications on the medium. One democratic implication would have to be people’s ability to post videos onto YouTube without having to worry about restrictions or societal norms like news reporters would. This very same reason explains the mediums huge involvement with the recent Presidential Election of 2008.The section calledYouTube:"YouChoose" not only ran videos for the candidates but also created a whole separate area on the site where strictly election material was posted. It was stated in an Australian newspaper article that political campaigns as we know them are dead due to sites like YouTube. YouTube’s ability to be unbiased to a specific candidate unlike Television is what really set it apart. The website created a place where average people could stay updated on the candidate’s speeches, commercials, issues as well as various other aspects on the election. Besides the cultural and democratic implications discussed within YouTube there are also some group implications. The group implications of the medium are especially staggering because it was believed the whole idea of the site was to create an online community. Those within this online community would then actively communicate, share, and post videos amongst each other. Another group implication on the medium draws from the community idea as well. However this one in particular highlights the fairly new process of Blogging on an assortment of videos posted by members. This idea to a create blog clearly helped to generate that form of community amongst the people who shared common interest (i.e. politics,music,comedy,etc) on YouTube. This very idea was proven by Aaron Barlow in his book “Blogging America” when he discusses just how effective the blogospehere (Blogging community) could become within our society today. Now after looking at each of these implications of the YouTube medium the overall concept of the website can be better understood. It’s not simply the fact that people can post/share videos but they also have the power to control what they want to watch.

In conclusion, after getting an in-depth look at the video-sharing website YouTube it can be seen why it’s become so popular amongst our society today. The once small Web 2.0 application flourished into something no one could have imagined and continues to grow quickly today. YouTube seemed to come together almost overnight developing into a force to be reckoned with having just a year under its belt. The sturdy foundation along with the computer smarts of founders Chen, Hurley, and Karim really helped to catapult this website into society’s spotlight. Along with these the third and most important element of the site is the audience. The audience plays a very active role in this site ,they are the people who are continuing to take time to post videos and make comment on others videos. Even today some four years after the sites introduction it continues to grow and hold the title of one of the most viewed sites on the web. This website is unlike any other of its kind specifically because of its ability to adapt to the changing of society. Wikipedia, states that in November 2008, YouTube reached an agreement with MGM, Lions Gate Entertainment and CBS which will allow the companies to post full-length films and television shows on the site, accompanied by advertisements. This along with the various other upgrades predicated for YouTube could push this medium even further ahead of its competitors as premier communication medium. Whether YouTube continues to be successful or not, the fact remains it can be coined as one of the first successful sites to create an audience of people who could view what they wanted, when they wanted, at the click of mouse. All in all from this information researched the hopes this site will continue to become successful just foreshadows a bleak future for the Television set.


Lexis Nexis/Library Sources:
1. Morrissay, Brian. (2007). Inside the Promise & Peril of You Tube. Adweek. 10 Oct. 2008
2. Klaassen, Abbey. (2008) “You Tube: You created the Content Now Sell the Ads.” Advertising Age. 18 Nov 2008
3. Mcloed, Duncan. (2007). You Tube’s Troubles. Financial Mail.21 Nov 2008
4. Cardew, Ban. "Survey uncovers changing attitudes of youth market." Music Week. 22 Nov 2008..
Other Sources:
1.Barlow, Aaron. Blogging @merica. CT.: Praeger Publishers, 2008.
2.Chan, Tracey. "Insight into YouTube videos." Official Google Blog. 26 March 2008. Google Inc. 19 Nov 2008 .
3.Huang, Christine. "Knowing Your Audience on YouTube.." PSFK. 16 May 2008. 16 Nov 2008 .

Monday, November 24, 2008

Shirky- 11/24/08

In Com430z, I was assigned to read Shirky’s chapter “Fitting Our Tools to a Small World” from the book “Here Comes Everybody”.

In this article Shirky takes a look at various social groups both big and small to better understand the structure of social networks. Shirky goes on to show the importance of the structure of social networks and how it can drastically change the relationships between people. In support of this idea Shirky talks about a pattern of social networking called the “Small World” network which was a name dubbed by researchers Duncan Watts and Steve Strogatz. In this pattern Watts and Strogatz attempt to highlight the “it’s a small world” comment often made by people when they meet someone that shares a common associate/friend with them. Shirky then shows how this small world concept actually works expressing two of its main characteristics which enable the messages to move through the links more effectively. The first characteristic presented was the idea that small groups are densely connected this simply meaning that everyone within that group easily connects with one another (Birthday Party Paradox). It was also shown that within these smaller groups the actual communication links are not compromised when one person leaves the group. The second characteristic Watts and Strogatz talk about is actually the opposite of the first here a focus is placed on larger groups having sparse connections. Here they express how in larger groups peoples links between one another is a lot more spread out amongst various people. However the links in larger groups are a lot more important because if an individual whom is linking a smaller group to this larger group decides to leave they could ruin the whole link.

All in all from this article I really gained a better understanding of the power of social networking. I can honestly say I didn’t really know what people meant when they said the phrase “it’s a small world”. However, since reading this article by Shirky this concept of six degrees of separation doesn’t seem to foreign to me. I also really liked how Shirky used common social networking applications like Facebook and Myspace to further explain the article. This not only helped me to get a visual of how these ideas worked but also how common they occur in our everyday lives.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Kendall -11/12/08

In Com430z, I was assigned to read Lori Kendall's article “Shout Into the Wind, and It Shouts Back” Identity and interactional tensions on LiveJournal.

In this article Kendall focuses on identity and information management methods of people within LiveJournal weblogs. In an attempt to gain the most valid information Kendall does some face to face observations with a few of the weblogs current users. With this information she has tried to get to the bottom of what actually is causing some of the tensions which exist within the LiveJournal weblogs. Of the tensions highlighted in the article there seems to be one that stands out, control vs. connection. To understand this tension Kendall interviews about seven different people to see where they stand on the issue. Upon doing this it quickly becomes clear that many of the people liked the fact that they had more control when using LiveJournal in comparison to other online forums like mud’s and listservs. This in return has really pushed many to become members of the online community. Kendall talks to two friends, Tammy and Fiona whom are in their late 30s and have two different lifestyles to see their take on the situation. It appears that these women happen to be a part of a group of friends which interacts through LiveJournal quite frequently. Kendall’s research points out that they each enjoy the journal because of its ability to be autonomous. They see it as a place where they have control over what they talk about and do amongst their group of friends. Kendall goes on to express how LiveJournal interactions could be looked at as broadcast to those whom use the weblogs.

After reading this article I can honestly say all the information that was presented seemed foreign to me at first, possibly because I never heard of LiveJournal weblogs. However, with the help of Kendall’s ability to accurately point out important elements of the weblog this has been laid to rest. These interviews allowed for me to get a non-biased outlook on how the tensions were actually affecting peoples journal life online. Hopefully in the future with the tensions being highlighted something could be done to change them.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Essay #4 "Blogging"

According to Webster-Merriam’s dictionary, “a Blog is defined as a web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer.” With this said it can almost be seen why a number of people have decided to become a part of the madness that is the blogospehere (the blog world). A major blog monitoring service called Technorati stated these claims to be quite true when it documented more then 75 million blogs as of 2007. So with the blogospehere on the rise it is becoming clearer just why so many find this medium of communication important. Now with the blogospehere growing more and more each day it has managed to open up greater doors for the viewer. This brings us to an idea proposed by Aaron Barlow in his book Blogging @merica, were he highlights the importance of imagining the audience accurately to ensure a blog being successful. In an attempt to get to the bottom of this audience idea proposed by Barlow I have observed a blog closely for 7 days. The blog observed is called Urban Hoopla which defines itself as a blogspot for urban celebrity pop culture & fashion. These observations will hopefully give great insight into how blogs function and how important it is for a writer (blogger) to imagine the audience.

Due to their growing popularity it’s can be seen just how important blogs have become to our society. Whether people read blogs or not it’s been proven that the blogospehere is becoming a staple amongst the Internet world. The emergence of the blog has allowed for something to happen that many could have never seen coming. It has given the little people a voice to be heard without the restrictions imposed of big businesses. This new found ability to speak with no restriction and anonymity has allowed for people to really exercise their 1st amendment right (freedom of speech) to the next power. However, this freedom has also caused many to become a bit apprehensive about becoming members of the blogospehere fearing being threatened or harassed by anonymous users. On the other hand many are looking past this and seeing the blog for what it really is, a place to exchange information/opinions about various things occurring in our society on a nonrestrictive basis. The blog has also created a place for people to comment on things that is of interest to them specifically. This idea of consumers choosing what they consume is also another idea that Barlow discusses in his book. An idea that is not very common amongst other mediums like television where the consumer doesn’t have as much power.

After expressing a little about what a blog actually is and how it functions a focus can be placed on my 7 day observation within the Urban Hoopla blog. With the abundance of celebrity pictures, fashion, music maybes, news and just straight gossip Urban Hoopla has managed to capture some key elements of a typical blog. During the first couple of days on the blog I didn’t really notice anything to outrageous. However, that all changed when I noticed a post about a popular R&B singer name Jennifer Hudson whom recently lost her mother, nephew, and brother in an unfortunate brutal murder. Upon reading the comments within the post I noticed just how hurt many people were about the incident. It was interesting to see how many people were spreading their sympathy’s and well wishes to a person they never met but had been impacted through their music. This is when I realized just how important a blog can actually be, not only to the writer but to the readers/audience. I noticed how the blog inadvertently created somewhere for people to come together and share their feelings/support, almost like a community coming together. This emergence of community kind of reminded me of what Barlow expressed in his chapter The Blogs in Society from Blogging @merica. In the next few days I just looked around the blog, clicking on pictures and listening to new music. Upon my last couple of days on the blog I decided to make a comment under a post about some new music by R&B singer Beyonce. In my comment I just stated how I supported the singer and liked the snippets from her upcoming album. The next day, I checked back on the comments and noticed that people had mixed reviews about the songs. However, what was interesting was that people weren’t just saying it was good or bad they were giving some background to support their claims.

Following my observation I began to understand what Barlow meant when he stated the importance of imaging the audience accurately within the blog. The ability of this blogger to imagine their audience accurately allowed for them to engage the audience a lot better. The writer’s keen sense to decide on what was important within the hip hop community further catapulted this websites popularity. Anybody could throw together a website about hip hop culture but it takes talent to decide what would be most important to that specific audience. In realizing this talent I began to understand why some blogs might be more successful then others.

In conclusion, after understanding a little bit more about blogs it’s become clear just how important they could become to our society in the near future. They would be very useful in supplying people with information they want to read without increased censorship. While it could present some problems I strongly feel that the good of the blog would out weigh the bad by far .From my research I also find it increasingly important that writers make sure to think about their audience as Barlow stated. This is going to be a key element in deciding just how successful the blogospehere will become. These blogs must make it a point to broadcast some of the most important issues that are affecting our community all at the click of a mouse. All in all from this it’s been shown what blogs are, how they function, and how important the writer/audience relationship is for success.


1. Barlow, Aaron. Blogging @merica: The New Public Sphere. CT.: Praeger Publishers, 2008.

Essay#4 "Blogging" Journal Entry-11/11/08

Today when i entered Urban Hoopla everything seemed the same. Besides some pictures of celebrity couples; model Heidi Klum& singer Seal and singer Chris Brown & singer Rhianna. There were no new comments but i did go back to check my comment from the post on Monday. Surprisingly there were only a few other comments but they were mixed reviews. One person liked the new songs while the other thought she could have done better. It didn't really spark an argument like i expected but i guess that's good. I also noticed a post about another pop singer name Leona Lewis whom is gearing up for an album release next week. People haven't really commented but im sure they'll be good reviews, she's at the top of her game.

Even though this is my last day observing Urban Hoopla for class i can honestly say i will continue to frequent the blog because its very useful. I feel like this website gives me everything i want to know at the click of mouse. I can get all the best urban celebrity news in one place.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Essay #4- "Blogging"Journal Entry 4 -11/10/08

So it's Monday and the bog is buzzins with all this weekends most interesting news via the hip hop community. Of the many stories the one that gained my interest from the moment the website uploaded was about singer/songwriter Beyonce Carter. The post was just giving some snippets to a few songs off her new double ablum thats set to be realeased next tuesday called "I am...Sasha Fierce". Since i am a fan of this artist i decided to post a comment about the songs.My comment was along the lines of ,stating that im confident that this artist will make big numbers on her release date because of her reputation. ( my comment name was:UrbanSwagga87)After looking over the other post it seemed some people are a bit pessimistic about this coming album. I think it could possible be because a few of the tracks were leaked and have been downloaded so noone's going to buy it. Even so i can still see it being a big hit amongst the music industry. Besides this i took a look at a few of this pics from this weekends World Music Awards where some artist like Alicia Keys performed. The blogger whom posted seemed to be a fan of Mrs Keys because their post were very respectable. Who knows whats new for tomorrow, Everyday is something new on Urban Hoopla

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Essay #4- "Blogging"Journal Entry 3 -11/9/08

So it's Sunday on Urban Hoopla and like I guessed it's pretty dead when it comes to new post on the blog. The one and only post is about this weekends 2008 MTV music awards show in Europe which was flooded with hundreds of the worlds most popular recording artist. The post higlighted pop singer Beyonce Knowles-Carter and her younger sister Solange focusing on various things like performances and fashions. The comments were very positive everyone appeared to agree with the post and found the performance by Beyonce nothing short of amazing. These comments didnt suprise because Beyonce as a r&b singer is probably one of the most talented and attractive within the hip hop music industry. Besides looking at this post i also took a peek at a few of the comments about the past weeks post. The set of comments that really caught my attention were about the election this past tuesday where Barack Obama was elected 44th President of The U.S.. People were extremely excited about Obama winning the election and becoming the first Black President in US history. A number of post were heart felt wishing the presidents family well wishes and prosperity. Many people were overwhelmed with joy because the change that so many longed for will be actually coming. Tomorrow's monday all the newest news will be all over Urban Hoopla from parties to politics ,can't wait.