Seriously playful participatory culture

Dr Michael Wesch – an anthropologist at Kansas State University- is looking at You Tube as a participant observer. He became an unlikely internet star himself with his brilliant 2007 video explanation of Web 2.0 – The Machine is Using Us , which has notched up over 9.5m views.  He spoke this month at the Personal Democracy Forum in NYC, delivering an update of his Autumn Library of Congress lecture – An Anthropological Introduction to You Tube .   This 5o minute lecture/video is required viewing if you’re interested in participatory culture.  It’s a lucid analysis of You Tube as social media. Wesch shows how the personal videos posted on the site allow new forms of connectedness which reflect a desire for community, relationships, authenticity. And Wesch cites “The Message” – the first You Tube “Collab” hit – as being all about the expression of these values.  The lecture is also great fun – a fine tribute to the “seriously playful participatory culture” which Wesch is interested in.

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