10/28 Class Thoughts.

Editor’s Note: I’m so exhausted by the time I get home on Thursday that there’s just no way I can get to my thoughts until the following day. =(

Rick Shankmen may have done a number on my head with his debunking discussion but he sure managed to educate us on why we as a people tell stories and myths. I particularly like what he said about myths specificically:

  • They have to be simple
  • They’ve got to be about something that makes us feel good (in his examples, feeling good about America)
  • They have to be so ingrained in us, that we can’t step outside of them to take them seriously

10/21 Class Thoughts

Paolo Tosloni really leveraged the Microsoft community in a huge way for the solicitation of user generated content. It was genius. To come up with a YouTube site for internal companies seems novel enough, but the thought he put behind it is what makes it such a great story.

The animation of the two old people from the bronx really touched me. I think the storytelling was amazing. You’d think because it was a cartoon it wouldn’t have the ability to touch you like that. However, the characters were real and their voices were real.

Class thoughts #3

Tonight, I met a famous internet person. Yep. Someone who’s video has garnered some 40 million hits on YouTube. He turned out to be quite a normal guy, who seems to be on a storytelling mission of epic proportions through dancing. He’s had three successful videos on the topic – 2005, 2006, and 2008. Now, in 2010 he’s working on one for a completion date of 2011.

Also in class we talked about the difference between subject and story. Knowing the distinction between the two is going to be super helpful with our group project. The example given in class was that you can have “snowboarding” as the subject for your video, but it’s what story you tell around it that becomes the focal point.

Where the Hell is Matt? – A Narrative Analysis

Where the Hell is Matt? started as a video of one guy dancing in homemade videos over various places in the world on his own and then later under the paid sponsorhip of Stride gum. After working with Stride for his first video, he would travel the world again (on Stride’s bill again) only to the key of locals in the background in each geographical area. These two scenarios tell two very different narratives. Let’s take a look.

On page nine of the book Narrative Across Media, author Marie-Laure Ryan makes a clear distinction between “being a narrative” and “possessing narrativity.” With Matt’s website, his videos clearly embody the “possessing narrativity” attribute. Its with his dancing and the visualization of he (and the locals in the 2008 video) that really capture the essence of the story he’s trying to tell. Believe it or not, his story is more than just a man dancing in various parts of the world.

The music he incorporates into his videos helps to tell the story. The specific places he chose to dance in front of (on top of) help to tell the story. And the very people he chose to represent the country he’s dancing in help to tell the story. Good job Matt.

Where the Hell is Matt?

YouTube and our Participatory Culture

Participatory culture is loosely defined as one where consumers and the general public can actively participate and circulate content they generate. Prior to reading Burgess and Green’s chapter on How YouTube matters, I hadn’t really given much thought to how important this is in 2010. We all participate online and contribute in one way or another in shaping the online fabric.

YouTube gives us the platform to freely express ourselves in front of a global audience for free. There is currently no other site like it that gives us access to so many people. Sure, Facebook does, but it’s a closed network. On Facebook people have to “friend” you before they can see your profile and interact with it. On YouTube though, one can haphazardly stumble upon your video, get forwarded a link to it or even view the embedded video on another site altogether. Challenges of video distribution and having a platform or medium to house people’s videos are no longer prevalent with this model. And it’s clear that this model is here to stay. I’ll call this the self publish model.

Tension built up however with YouTube early on with the big alphabet channels (ABC, NBC, CBS etc.). They didn’t have control with this new sort of distribution model. They were no longer getting paid from advertisers. They were Goliath and YouTube was David. That’s how it was with the big companies, but the relationship with the everyday person with a video camera and the YouTube consumer was a match made in heaven. Chad Vader? David after Dentist? Chocolate Rain? The list goes on. These are some of the most viewed videos and they’re made by people like you and I. I love YouTube.